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KIU’s Joan Owade Stages Successful Public Defence of her PhD Thesis on Kenyan Elections


Isaac Akugizibwe

KIU, Main Campus - Joan Owade Adongo, the head of Journalism and Media Studies at Kampala International University has today, April 13, presented a viva voce in defence of her research on media coverage and conflict management in Kenya’s presidential elections. 

Owade did her Ph.D. in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) and her study sought to examine the media’s role in conflict management in Kenya.

Using a mixed-method research approach, Owade’s study found out that the media used a war journalism approach in 2007 and shifted to peace journalism approach in 2013 and 2017. It also reveals that the Kenyan media in 2007 escalated conflict through the war journalism approach whereas there was a gradual shift from war journalism to peace journalism between 2007 and 2017 in Kenya.

In defence of what prompted her to carry out the study, Owade based her study on the fact that there has been an escalation of violence during elections in Kenya yet there are several studies about the same violence and that their recommendations seem not to have worked.

‘’I kept wondering why there is violence every time Kenya holds an election and what beat my understanding is that there are several studies that have looked at Kenyan elections. They have even given recommendations but how comes the violence has continued? And in search of the answer, I realized the media plays a very big role. It acts as a mirror to society. What it says can either influence the voters positively or negatively. Therefore, I decided to be one of the very few to come up with strong recommendations going forward on how presidential elections in Kenya can be managed,’’ Owade explained

She recommends the formulation of adequate policies for electoral reportage and strengthening of existing policies in reducing media accountability, full implementation of the Media Council Act of Kenya 2013, effective use of judicial systems, collaboration with stakeholders involved in electoral processes, enhancing youth electoral role in electoral processes and equal distribution of resources.

The overall consensus from both the internal and external examiners is that Joan carried out a groundbreaking study.