Stabilizing the Contours of Democracy in Kenya: An Analysis of Audiences’ Perceptions of Radio Contents in 2007 and 2013 Political Cycles.

Mwangi, M. Kamau


The paper argues that the understanding of the social construction of the practice of democracy is expanded when relevant social groups such as mass media and voters are analyzed to see how ‘interpretative flexibility’ and ‘closure’ occurs. The paper focuses on the coverage of the presidential candidates by vernacular radio in the 2007 and 2013 general elections in Kenya. The two political cycles present what the author calls the ‘dilatory and cogent waves of media operations in Kenya. The two political cycles are used in the analyses of mass media operations for two major reasons; First, they provide what Nigel and Mulkay (1984) called ‘Rhetorical Repertoire’ through which audience give their interpretation of a process as well as their application in terms of their actions. And second, they are used as an analytical tools of comparison. The media terrain is explored by analyzing both Inooro and Kass FM audiences’ perceptions about how the two stations covered the key presidential candidates in the two general elections. It concludes that, a cogent mass media wave can be used to break the audiences’ intercultural barriers which stand in the way of a community’s strength and mutual benefits.

Keywords: Democracy, vernacular radio, audience, perception, mass media coverage

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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