Media as Policy Makers’ Tool and its Diplomatic Roles in Peace Building in Kenya
Media initiative as a policymaker is not a recent one. In conflict prevention and peace building, media have historically shaped the views of policy-makers and the public on conflicts. Media’s initiatives in interpreting information also affects the creation of policy, especially as media provide ideas as to how to prevent and recover from violent conflicts. The media is also used by politicians and policymakers to deliver their message. It is also possible for the media to control policymaking, especially in humanitarian disaster situations, as is sometimes the case with Cabal News Network, whose images of humanitarian crises force states to intervene militarily to stop death. The study sought to examine how media plays its role as policy formulation and diplomatic initiative. The study population comprised editors and journalists from media houses, opinion leaders, religious organizations and media analysts drawn from the academia, Non-Governmental Organizations and the Kenya National Council for Human Rights. Stratified and simple random sampling techniques were used to select a sample of 50% respondents drawn from the target population of 420. Data collection was done through questionnaires, interview schedules, focus group discussions, participant observations and analysis of documentary records. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The study found out that media role as a policy maker tool was not a significant predictor in peace building. The media particularly contributes in areas of democracy and good governance, political transparency, foreign policy and human rights. As agenda-setters, they influence the issues on public agenda. As such, media freedom is fundamental in democracy and therefore it should be non-negotiable. The media must report the truth without undue misrepresentation of facts, sensationalism, propaganda and bias. Ownership of the media should be spread to avoid the monopoly of a few, powerful individuals, corporations or governments. Display or transmission of violent media materials should be controlled to reduce negative influence on societies.
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