Mapping Broadcast Media Outlets and Accredited Journalists in Kenya: Towards Understanding News and Information Inequalities

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East African Institute; Graduate School of Media and Communications


This article reports on a study that attempted to understand news and information inequalities by mapping the distribution of broadcast media outlets, the spread of accredited journalists, and the presence of established news bureaus in the eight regions in Kenya. Further, the study sought to determine the ownership of the broadcast media in Kenya and the trends in ownership and audience reach within the context of commercial interest and public interest dialectics. The study was anchored on the theory of the political economy of the media which looks at power relations that influence the production, distribution and consumption of resources from a critical tradition. Based on the analysis of documents, audience research data, and literature on media representation and socioeconomic and political development, the study revealed that Nairobi County is the news and information hub. It has the most journalists, radio stations and news bureaus, whereas far-flung counties exist in news and information deserts. Central region residents were found to consume the least percentage of the non-local language radio stations as they prefer local language or vernacular radio stations Western, South Nyanza (Nyamira and Kisii) and North Western regions are unique in that their consumption of radio with a national target audience is fairly high when the Average Daily Radio Reach (ADRR) of the top five radio stations is considered. Ownership of the radio market is in the hands of five media organisations that share 43.70% of the ADRR. The establishment, audience reach and ownership trends of these media organisations coupled with the spread of journalists and news bureaus revealed news and information inequalities. The audience reach by broadcast media outlets, even in areas where vernacular radio stations provide a rich diet of media content, seems to be more interested in ownership for profit maximisation at the expense of public interest.

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