Capital FM (Nairobi)

28 March 2013

Kenyan Journalists Defend Election Coverage

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Khamadi said the charges against Arap Sang at the ICC did not just prompt journalists to err on the side of caution, but encouraged them to exercise self-censorship.

At the same time, he acknowledged that as tensions ran high across the country, journalists rightly stopped themselves from publishing material that could have incited further trouble.

"There was restraint. We were very careful with live coverage for a good reason, because we did not want to give politicians a chance to incite [people]," Khamadi said. "We had to be sensitive on what was safe to air live. Of course there are shortcomings, but I don't think you can say there was total failure or grand conspiracy to promote one side at the expense of the other."

Khamadi pointed out that media ownership was another constraint. Media outlets in Kenya are often owned by powerful politicians, so journalists are not really able to question the line taken by members of the particular party in question.

"Media ownership is very political in Kenya and journalists tried hard not to ask hard questions so that they are not [thought to be supporting the opposing side]," Khamadi said.

Judie Kaberia is the Kenya Coordinator for ReportingKenya.net and Special Projects Reporter at Capital FM in Nairobi.

This article was produced as part of a media development programme by IWPR and Wayamo Communication Foundation in partnership with Capital FM.

JUDIE KABERIA

Judie is a Special Projects Reporter. She has eight years experience in Journalism in Kenya and Germany. She has scooped awards in Reproductive Health, Population and Development and Gender and Development. She has participated in international conferences in Germany. She has a soft spot for human rights and justice stories.

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