The Kenyan media in the 1997 general elections: a look at the watchdogs

TitleThe Kenyan media in the 1997 general elections: a look at the watchdogs
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsJ. Kadhi, and M.M.E.M. Rutten
EditorM.M.E.M. Rutten, A. Mazrui, and F. Grignon
Secondary TitleOut for the count : the 1997 general elections and prospects for democracy in Kenya: (2001)
Pagination242 - 273
Date Published2001///
Publication Languageeng
Keywords1997, Africa, democracy, democratization, elections, Kenya, mass communication

This chapter presents an overview of the media in Kenya as it stands today, focussing on the role of the media in the process of democratization. It first sketches the Kenyan media landscape as it developed since 1902, when the first newspaper was established in the then British headquarters for East Africa, the town of Mombasa. It discusses the impact of the 1992 'liberalization' of the Kenyan media, demonstrating that in addition to growth in the number of publications and broadcast stations, a qualitative change in content is evident, particularly in the print media. However, although press freedom has improved, regulatory and policy measures affecting the media should still be characterized as restrictive. The chapter then focuses on media coverage of the 1997 elections, distinguishing between two aspects: the game of strategy, and the substance of the elections. It also pays attention to the role of journalists in the debate about the need for constitutional change and the Media Watch project, whose main objective was to monitor the State-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation radio and television during the pre-election period. Biliogr., notes, ref

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