transfer 18(1) » Journalismus

Media in post-electoral conflicts in Kenya

An analysis of normative concepts of peace journalism

When in late December 2007 Kenyans voted for a new president, one of the most violent periods in Kenya’s history began. Still, this conflict influences national and international policy; the current Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, who was elected in 2013, was involved in criminal actions and is accused of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
In this conflict the media – in particular the main newspapers and several radio programmes – overtook an important role in opinion formation and ran a so to say “peace keeping propaganda”. Based on theories about media in public and its role and responsibilities to society, this thesis will reflect on the normative concepts of how journalists should behave in war and conflict situations. The questions, what indicators of “good“ journalism are and how it was presented in Kenya in 2007 / 2008 are raised.
One clear conclusion is that as in every other country in the world, normative journalism in Kenya is an ideal which will probably never be reached in 100 percent. The other disillusioning conclusion is that although the journalists did Kenya probably a favour with their “peace keeping mission” it is not the role of journalism to take over the policy´s role.