Date of Award
Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)
Graduate School of Media and Communications
The Kenyan media has brought to the limelight disturbing issues of women who are murdered as a result of intimate partner violence. However, the framing of the femicide stories has brought about different perspectives in their interpretation, deeming the victims responsible for murder by blaming them. The framing justifies the actions taken by the perpetrators in committing murder. It is therefore against this background that the study focused on analyzing the frames used by the Kenyan media in covering homicide. The objectives that guided the study included; (i) to examine the major frames in the coverage of femicide by Kenyan newspapers; (ii) to establish the degree of prominence on femicide stories in the Kenyan newspapers; and (iii) to investigate what influences the selection of the different frames by Kenyan newspapers in the coverage of femicide. The study was anchored on framing and priming theories. The study used a mixed method approach, which included both a qualitative and quantitative content analysis of sampled newspapers and interviews of purposively sampled journalists. The study deployed a descriptive research design in analyzing the frames used in the coverage of femicide by the Kenyan media. The target population of the study was journalists working at the Nation and Standard media organizations and all the nation and standard newspapers that published Sharon and Monica cases – they were both victims of femicide. A sample size of six key informants was considered of the target population using purposive sampling technique. This study adopted both a code sheet and an interview guide as tools for data generation. Data collected from interviews was analysed thematically, while that from the texts was analysed using SPSS. The findings of this study indicated that, some of these frames that are widely used are attribution of responsibility, alleged perpetrator, love affair, societal frame, victim frame and sponsor support frame. The prominence of the femicide stories is determined by aspects such as who the victim or the alleged perpetrator is, the relation between the two, their status in the society, the nature of the killings, court proceedings and finally deliberations by the editor. Further, the study established that the usage of frames by the media is shaped by the sources, language and the context. The study concluded that the context of the killing informs the kind of frames used while writing femicide stories. It therefore recommended that (i) media houses actively engage in covering femicide stories to bring to the fore the seriousness of the matter; (ii) the media should exercise professionalism while framing the femicide stories; and (iii) consistent coverage that puts to task the authorities whose responsibility is to solve such cases.
Ng'ang'a, Rose Wangui. (2021). News media framing of femicide: an analysis of Kenyan newspapers’ reports on the killing of two women (Unpublished Masters Thesis) Nairobi: Aga Khan University