Digital News Media Coverage on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Kenya: Scoping the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Background: Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Kenya is frequently covered in digital news media. As a powerful influencer of public opinion, news media coverage can have a significant societal impact. This scoping review identifies the extent, nature, and themes of all available digital news media coverage on SGBV in Kenya from June 2019 to July 2020. It analyzes changes in coverage since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Method: The methodological framework for scoping reviews developed by Arksey and O’Malley (2005) guided the scoping review. The selected articles were analyzed using NVivo.
Results: Analysis of the 340 included articles indicates clear trends in news media coverage on SGBV in Kenya. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, trends include high numbers of news reports, feature articles, and opinion pieces on SGBV, female genital mutilation (FGM) as the most covered form of SGBV, and opinion pieces in line with the Kenya Vision 2030 agenda. Since the implementation of the COVID-19 mitigation measures in Kenya, trends include an increase in news media coverage on SGBV, extensive reporting on the causes of the rise in SGBV cases in Kenya, and increased media attention for domestic and sexual violence.
Conclusions: Analysis of the news media coverage demonstrates the health advocacy/agenda-setting role of the media. The increased reporting on SGBV since the implementation of the COVID-19 mitigation measures could facilitate broad-based awareness.