THE ROLE OF PRINT MEDIA IN CONFLICT ESCALATION: CASE STUDY OF KENYA

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This study focuses on the role of the press in conflict escalation in Kenya. The reality that
will never change is the sense that media is a means of communication that plays an
important role for information and community development. Today, all over the world,
media is a connecting tool in the country or between countries. However, media is
‘accused’ of being a source of conflict by the ways of propaganda and bias As a result,
media can cause problems because the society relies on it for news and information. The
disputed 2007 presidential elections in Kenya resulted into widespread skirmishes
following the announcement of results on the 30th December 2007. Spontaneous violence
erupted in various parts of Kenya leading to massive displacement, loss of lives and
livelihoods. About 1,200 people lost their lives and 350,000 people were displaced. Many
moved to their ethnic homelands for security reasons while others moved to the periurban
areas of the major cities in various parts of Kenya. The actual figure of those who
were internally displaced by violence is not known with certainty, because there were
people who were not hosted in the official camps but sought refuge among communities
where there were relative stability and peace. The local media has been largely accused
of fanning this conflict. Media works have been correlated to the issues that result to
violent behaviors such as the correlation between massive exposure to the media and the
increase of violent behaviors among media audiences. Journalists have been accused
paying more attention on certain issues than others. It’s also evident that there are players
who shape the role of the media.

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PROF. AMB. MARIA NZOMO
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