In Kenya’s grassroots communities there is little understanding of the role of media in influencing the electoral process. Information transmitted through the media shapes public views on elections, and youth are especially vulnerable to manipulation by invented, false, exaggerated or distorted information. As election campaigns intensify, ethnic and historical divisions among groups often re-emerge. Media can exacerbate violent conflict through misleading or poorly timed reporting. 

This objective will produce an extensive pool of electoral officials and stakeholders with enhanced skills and strategies regarding the media’s role in electoral conflict prevention. They will be capacitated to analyse specific electoral conflicts, deepen understanding of drivers, causes and consequences and formulate and implement responses.


Activity 4.1    Training journalists, editors, and media owners, including vernacular radio stations, on conflict-sensitive election reporting.

Violent conflict is attractive to the news media as it easily captures public attention. Greater analytical depth and skills are necessary to report on electoral processes without contributing to further violence, hampering dialogue amongst electoral stakeholders, and creating a bad name for media as ruthless and money-driven rather than beneficial to democracy and the freedom of speech. As the electoral landscape continues to unfold, it is vital to create “safe spaces” and public platforms to discuss issues that are likely to escalate and to work collectively to avoid violence. Efforts to build the capacity of vernacular radio stations to refrain from incitement to violence can have a tangible impact on people’s safety and security during the election period. The project will capacitate media houses and journalists to remain neutral, accessible, and conflict-sensitive in their reporting. It will provide training to make election reporting more insightful, comprehensive, and fact-based, enhancing the potential for media to contribute to resolving conflict rather than perpetuating divides or harmful perceptions. Additionally, the project will also target citizen journalism where bloggers and social media influencers will be targeted for the training.


Activity 4.2    Set up of a Media Monitoring Unit

The project will establish a Media Monitoring Unit (MMU). The MMU will comprise members with media competence and outreach capacity in the different regions, grouped under regional coordinators. In addition, NCIC in collaboration with NSAs will regularly monitor mainstream media, social media platforms public spaces and politicians perpetuate hate speech, ethnic contempt, and incitement to violence for political gain. Data generated by the MMU will also be used to compel media organs to conduct responsible reporting. A detailed external communication strategy based on media monitoring data will be implemented and regularly updated.


Activity 4.3    Capacity building for NCIC’s Media Monitoring Unit staff (MMU).

The NCIC media monitoring is a long-term activity that requires qualified expert personnel. The institution will engage in four main types of media monitoring: monitoring of public and institutional communications; monitoring of incitement to violence and fake news; monitoring of compliance with electoral campaign regulations; and monitoring of political pluralism.

With the support of ECES media-monitoring experts, NCIC’s media monitoring methodology will be strengthened with regard to different types of media (radio, television, and social media). Objectives of the media monitoring are the following:

  • media monitoring at the service of public and institutional communication,
  • monitoring incitement to violence,
  • monitoring related to electoral campaign regulations, and
  • monitoring of political pluralism. 

MMU regional coordinators will oversee media monitoring training in Nairobi for NCIC and other potential extended actors based on EU monitoring methodology, including how to monitor political campaigns and develop and/or monitor codes of conduct for journalists and media houses and their owners. There will be a specific focus on mapping and monitoring hate speech and election-related violence and conflict that may erupt during the campaign and post-election periods. Training will focus on non-incitement reporting and enable media to play a positive role in conflict mitigation and local media monitoring. Participants will explore the role of media in tempering rather than exacerbating election-related violence and conflict.


Activity 4.4:  Monitor and observe electoral processes for hate speech, ethnic contempt, and incitement to violence.

In Kenya, hate speech and ethnic contempt on social media and other platforms are known to catalyse environments of conflict and violence among groups and communities. The NCI Act mandates the Commission to monitor and manage offences of hate speech and ethnic contempt which in the recent past have been increasingly perpetrated in various platforms, including social media platforms. The project will improve the NCIC’s capacity to identify and monitor hate speech and ethnic contempt incidences and recommend appropriate remedial measures. As part of activity 4.3, a specific session will be focussed on how to monitor, detect and respond to incidences of hate speech.


Activity 4.5: Undertake integrated media-led campaigns to promote peace, cohesion, and peaceful elections.

Following the communication strategy developed under activity 3.1, the NCIC will undertake a media-led campaign engaging a wide spectrum of stakeholders including, youth, women, people with disabilities and other marginalised groups aiming at disseminating and promoting peaceful messages during the election. In the framework of this activity peace messages will be disseminated via radio 2 months prior to the general election.