MEDIA REPRESENTATION OF KENYAN SOMALIS

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ABSTRACT
This study examines media representation of Kenyan Somalis. It looks at the impact of media framing on the identity construction of Kenyan Somalis. It also examines the role of media in promoting (or not) xenophobia against the ethnic group. It further analyses the role of ideology in the representation of Kenyan Somalis. A qualitative content analysis of newspaper articles was conducted from two major dailies in Kenya; Daily Nation and The Standard from June 2012 to June 2015. In addition, documentaries, video clips, video blog (vlog) and a television (TV) talk show were analyzed. The findings of the study reveal that Kenyan media has been insensitive in the representation of Kenyan Somalis. In their reporting, media has used language that contributes to the identity crisis of Kenyan Somalis. In some instances, there was misrepresentation of events such as the xenophobic attacks against Somalis in Eastleigh which some journalists described as protests against Al-Shabaab sympathizers. Media has also inferentially ethnic profiled Kenyan Somalis as terrorists hence contributing to stereotypes about the group. Although overt ethnic profiling was minimal, media relied on conflict, ethnic, problem frames and ethnicized terrorism hence presenting a skewed reporting of Kenyan Somalis. The overt profiling of Kenyan Somalis included publishing of negative and fictitious statements about the group .The study recommends that there is need for training of journalists on ethnic representation. There is also need for laws and policies to guide media representation of ethnic groups.

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