Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Erneo Nyamboga

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Joy Mueni


Graduate School of Media and Communications


The pivotal role of news media as the fourth estate in society cannot be overstated; it profoundly influences public opinion, shapes perceptions, and mirrors a nation's values. Much like in other countries, in Kenya, media assumes a central role in reporting legal proceedings, especially those involving children. The manner in which these events are covered carries significant consequences, directly impacting the welfare and rights of the children concerned. This study critically examines the news media's coverage of court proceedings involving children in Kenya, focusing on mainstream television channels, namely Citizen TV, NTV, and KTN News, owing to their substantial viewership. At the heart of this inquiry lies the ethical quandary news editors face when reporting on court matters involving children in Kenya. The study aims to delve into these ethical considerations, scrutinize the types of court cases involving children highlighted by the media, and understand the framing strategies employed by the media in such instances. Anchored in the Framing Theory of communication, this research adopted a qualitative approach, utilizing qualitative content analysis and interviews as design. The study's scope encompasses a thorough review of general and empirical literature, covering media coverage of children's affairs, ethical considerations, best practices, and the framing techniques employed by the media in court cases involving children. To gather insights, the study focused on news editors as its primary participants, employing purposive sampling methods. Additionally, news content related to court cases involving children broadcast during the 9 PM bulletins on Citizen TV, NTV, and KTN over one year was analyzed. The researcher conducted in-depth interviews with senior editors from legacy media houses. The collected data was analysed thematically, relying on predefined content categories, and supplemented by qualitative coding sheets and semi-structured interviews. The study established that ethical dilemma, privacy concerns, adherence to guidelines, and the issue of sensationalism as critical ethical considerations facing the media in the coverage of court matters involving children in Kenya. The study concludes that media outlets, particularly prominent TV stations in Kenya, employ framing strategies to cover court matters involving children. The study also concludes that examining the nature of court matters involving children in media coverage highlighted a preference for criminal, family, and divorce cases, driven by the pursuit of higher viewership. In conclusion, legacy media houses need to prioritize comprehensive training for journalists, especially those reporting on court matters involving children.