2 March 2013

Kenya: Al Jazeera to Rely On Technology for Kenya Election Coverage

Al Jazeera has announced its coverage plan for the 4 March 2013 Kenyan elections.

Three TV correspondents and one online reporter will provide viewers with in-depth reporting and analysis from across the country before, during, and after polling day.

Nazanine Moshiri and Mohammed Adow will be reporting from Nairobi, with Peter Greste in Western Kenya. Al Jazeera English online will also provide the latest analysis and coverage through a special spotlight page carrying exclusive features and reports from Al Jazeera's James Brownsell in Nairobi.

The Al Jazeera team will highlight key electoral issues, such as youth unemployment, which affects 41 per cent of Kenyans; the increased use of technology in the election campaign; and the importance of tribal loyalty during the elections.

Already Al Jazeera has been the only international news organisation to run coverage of both presidential debates live. The channel has also conducted exclusive 30-minute interviews on Talk to Al Jazeera with two of the top presidential candidates, Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta. The special coverage will further intensify in the days leading up to polling day.

Ordinary Kenyans will also have a chance to get their voices heard through Al Jazeera's Kenya Speaks and Kenya Voices campaigns, which will be gathering SMS and voice messages of election comments and concerns. Safaricom subscribers can call 0800720690 and listen to the latest news bulletin from Al Jazeera English. By calling the same number, users can also make an audio citizen report on an issue/event that has affected them or call and submit an audio report responding to an Al Jazeera request for stories on a particular topic.

In December, a 2 week pilot of the system in Ghana aimed at gathering voices on the elections taking place in the country resulted in over 2000 people using the service with approximately 50 percent of them accessing the news bulletins and over 400 people leaving audio reports.

The system has been built by the Web Foundation, founded by Tim Berners-Lee. The foundation has done a lot of work in this field, particularly focusing on access to the web via mobile devices in Africa. However, this is the first time they have developed such a system and Al Jazeera's solution is unique for a media network.

The service will be hosted by Safaricom, which carries over 60 percent of the country's network subscribers. The firm is providing a toll free number for users to call.

As social media will be playing a key role in the elections, The Stream will be pouring over the online conversation during the election, while Inside Story, Al Jazeera's flagship discussion programme, will debate the key election points before and after the vote.

The online spotlight page can be viewed at http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/kenya2013/.

Al Jazeera English's on-screen and online branding for the Kenyan elections can be downloaded here http://www.aljazeera.com/mritems/imagecache/450/680/mritems/Images/2013/2/21/2013221114517355734_20.jpg.

The Twitter handles of Al Jazeera reporters in Kenya are @moadow, @nazaninemoshiri, @petergreste, @jamesbrownsell

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