World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UN Report Examines Coverage Of Kenya Elections

By Derek Kilner

UN Report Examines Media Coverage of Kenya Elections

One month ahead of general elections in Kenya, a new report claims that government-controlled broadcast media are favoring President Mwai Kibaki in their coverage. President Kibaki is locked in a tight race with challenger Raila Odinga.

The report, by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Strategic, a local public opinion research firm, examines the quantity and quality of coverage of the different parties and presidential candidates by radio, television, and print media.

The report finds that, for the most part, the major candidates have received similar amounts of coverage. While the candidate receiving the most positive coverage varied between media outlets, the report found that negative coverage was consistently less for President Kibaki than for Odinga.

The coordinator of the UNDP election assistance program in Kenya, Margie Cook, tells VOA that television and radio coverage of the president by government-run Kenya Broadcasting Corporation is a cause for concern.

"The findings are showing that generally the KBC and, to a lesser extent, the Citizen Group are disproportionately favoring the government and the incumbent with their coverage over and above the other parties and candidates," she noted.

Cook says another troubling finding is the use of ethnically divisive language by smaller radio stations.

"Coverage on community-based radio stations which use vernacular language and are ethnically-based are often using language that incites racial hatred and incites tensions between the different ethnic groupings," she added.

Support for Kenya's political parties tends to be based more on ethnic allegiances than on political ideology, and can fuel tensions between tribes. President Kibaki's Party of National Unity, for example, is dominated by Kenya's largest tribe, the Kikuyu, while Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement has its base among the Luo tribe of Western Kenya.

Despite the shortcomings in news coverage, Cook says election coverage, especially in Kenya's newspapers, has significantly improved over the previous election campaign in 2002.

President Kibaki is facing a serious challenge from Odinga.

In opinion polls since late September, Odinga had been leading the president, but recent surveys show that Mr. Kibaki has largely closed the gap.

A survey released on Friday by Kenya's most prominent pollster, the Steadman Group, shows Odinga leading President Kibaki by only three-tenths of a percentage point. No margin of error was given.

The U.N. study monitored media coverage from October 29 to November 25.


More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news