Citizen journalism and conflict transformation

Exploring netizens’ digitized shaping of political crises in Kenya

Authored by: Toyin Ajao

Routledge Handbook of African Media and Communication Studies

Print publication date:  February  2021
Online publication date:  February  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138574779
eBook ISBN: 9781351273206
Adobe ISBN:


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In 2018, the global number of Internet users rose significantly to over 4 billion, in comparison to the 750 million Internet users in view in 2001 (Internet Live Stats 2018). About 453 million of these worldwide Internet users reside in Africa (Internet World Stats 2018). They account for only 35 per cent of the continent’s entire population. Nonetheless, the impacts of the African Internet users’ sociopolitical engagement, especially through citizen journalism, are telling. The concept of citizen journalism, which is based upon ‘ordinary’ citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analysing, and disseminating news and information” (Bowman and Willis 2003), according to Watson and Wadhwa (2014) has moved from its infancy to a matured platform where citizen journalists’ multiple roles include conflict management. These amateurs, who sometimes include professional journalists who prefer a less constricting echo chamber in which to air their views, have revolutionalized the way in which news is produced and consumed. They have also shown there is inherent democratic power in the user-generated content that has demonopolized traditional media, challenged dictatorial regime, and provided organic realities from peoples’ lived-experiences (Banda 2010; Moyo 2011; Mutsvairo and Columbus 2012; Allan 2013).

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