Effect of media on peacebuilding in Kenya : a case of the 2007/8 PEV
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With the hope of achieving sustainable peace in a conflict period, the media in Africa have faced a lot of challenges. Many scholars have written on the effects media have on conflict situations in Africa particularly focussing on how media propelled conflict. However, this is not the only role media have played in societies. Media are dynamic; they tend to adopt different roles with the changes in the environment that they surround. Taking the Kenyan post-election violence of 2007/2008 as the case study, the study explores whether the media can promote reconciliation and sustainable peace in Kenya. The study further seeks to represent those who experienced first-hand the roles media played during the 2007/ 8 PEV. This study utilized the qualitative research method and utilized open-ended questionnaires and informal meetings as tools for data collection. I argue that despite the media being seen as a tool that fuelled the violence, media played several different roles changing dynamically with the changing stages of the electoral process. In addition, I point out that media have been under-utilized for the purposes of peacebuilding by pointing out the gaps in the Kenyan society and offering recommendations in the efforts to achieve sustainable peace. The study offers a fresh outlook on the role media play in conflict situations in the world today. Most scholars who have written on the role of media in conflict situations almost have a unanimous aim of outlining how media an evil in society that inflicts more harm than good in conflict situations. In contrast, I focus on the peacebuilding role of media highlighting the good the media does in the Kenyan society especially during the conflict situation of 2007/8 that both Kenyans and scholars have taken for granted.