Media Graduation from Potential to Actual Power in Africa’s Conflict Resolution

Experience from the East and Horn of Africa

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The media has for a long time been recognised as a catalyst in the many intra- and inter-state conflicts that have afflicted the African continent. This paper analyses the pre-testing results of a regional media conflict transformation project that was recently carried out in East Africa and the Horn of Africa regions. The paper premises the analysis on three media theories: gatekeeping, agenda setting and socialisation.

The project trained journalists from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan in coverage of conflict transformation issues. The project further developed a regional training manual designed to socialise journalists and media practitioners in the principles of conflict resolution journalism. Pre-testing results revealed that journalists on their own could not attain the ideals of a regional media conflict transformation strategy. What are needed are networks of information resources working in a structured manner with media outlets, the gatekeepers and agenda setters, and training institutions.