DOI: 10.5176/2301-3729_JMComm12.35

Authors: Philip Oburu Onguny

Abstract: This article examines the shifts in vernacular radio
narratives and how they influence inter-group relations in
situations of conflict in Kenya. Using media framing as an
analytical framework, it unpacks the discourses that surrounded
the framing of the 2007/08 conflicts while, at the same time,
uncovers attitudinal changes that characterized inter-group
relations prior to, during and after this particular conflict. The
theoretical claim made is that the framing of conflicts by
vernacular radios can either be differentiated or concerted,
depending on the stage at which a given conflict manifests. While
in differentiated framing, media narratives are negotiated in
terms of negative competition likely to reinforce divisive or
rebellious attitudes, concerted framing underpins the framing
process whereby media discourses are articulated in a manner
that underscores shared ideals that cut across inter-group
allegiances, and thus may strengthen collaborative attitudes.
Overall, this article implies that ethno-linguistic proximity and
ethno-regional polity drive the framing of inter-group relations in
Kenya’s vernacular radios, particularly in situations of conflict
or competition.
Keywords: Kenya; media framing; vernacular radios; ethnic
conflicts; peace-building

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