How citizen media can help ensure peaceful elections in Kenya in 2012-13

by: July 4th, 2012 comments: 1

Winning post by Steve Banner, of Kibera News Network, for the Global Voices Summit 2012 blogging scholarship competition:

After so much bloodshed in last general elections, The government of Kenya is doing everything to avoid the repeat of what happened in 2007.

In informal settlements and slums such as Kibera, where the post Election Violence was at its peak, the rise of Citizen journalism has helped in information gathering and sharing. hence becoming a vital tool to spread the message of peace among the youths, who are mostly the target by politicians in carrying out negative vices and violence in the community.

In Kibera, we have seen the rise of citizen journalism, who collect information in their communities in form of reports, news and also documentaries. one such group is the Kibera News Network, which comprises of youths born and brought up in Kibera slums hence they understand the community well, better than the mainstream media who just focus on the negative side of the community.

KNN collect stories in Kibera then organise for community screenings within Kibera where members of the community get information on what take place in different villages, through this screenings come forums where community members share opinions on how to create a peaceful society and discuss different projects going on within Kibera and how they can get to benefit from this projects. this help bring about togetherness hence creating harmony within the community.

Citizen media can also get to monitor elections from the grassroots since they are community based, hence helping to bridge the gap of misinformation which may have contributed to last post election violence.

They also organise Peace walks within Kibera which help bring together the community and the aspiring political candidates who give speeches preaching peace and togetherness among the community members.

However, there is still a lot to be learnt by citizen journalists, given that most of them may be green in journalism field and may need a lot of training in handling the heat that comes with election monitoring and also getting the necessary support in organising peace forums within the community and engaging them in civic education.

Citizen media has overcome many obstacles and achieved a lot. especially in educating the community and organising successful Peace forums.

Originally posted by Steve on his blog, stevebanner32.

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