Citizen Journalism in Kenya as a Contested “Third Space”

Ogola, George Otieno orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4513-4550 and Owuor, Mike (2016) Citizen Journalism in Kenya as a Contested “Third Space”. In: Participatory Politics and Citizen Journalism in a Networked Africa : A connected continent. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 229-243. ISBN 978-1-349-56835-2

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Outside the formal media structures, Kenya has always had a broad range of vibrant alternative sites for public expression and deliberation. As a reaction to successive post-independence governments’ domination and control of mainstream media, Kenya’s “cultural workers”, through music, drama, comedy and “new journalism”, have routinely developed a powerful oppositional narrative that constantly punctures the majesty of power, offering the “margins” not only a space but also a language with which to confront the excesses of the state. This was particularly so in the 1990s, during the clamour for political pluralism. Because the broader communication infrastructure was not radically changed despite political pluralism and media liberalisation in the 1990s (see Ogola, 2015), these spaces and expressive forms for alternative political narratives have remained profoundly relevant. Broadly conceived, citizen journalism, as one of these alternative expressive forms, has been instrumental for ensuring executive accountability and public participation in national debates.

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