Social media, recipe for violence

Content in social media platform has continued to undermine peace efforts during electioneering period in the country.

University scholar, Nicholas Odhiambo speaking during the annual multi-disciplinary international conference at the Kisii University on Saturday, said social media especially facebook was known to influence political conflicts through images and texts that trigger violence.

Odhiambo called for restraint when sharing any political material during this electioneering period, saying media outlets should be careful not to contribute to violence, as it happened during the year 2007/2008 post elections.

The scholar noted that political conflict had taken root in Kenya, with the media playing a role in the conflict, being the main platform where people air their different political ideologies.

He further noted that Kenya had been known to be a peaceful country since independence in 1963, until 2007 when chaos erupted after the disputed presidential election leading to loss of life and property.

Odhiambo appealed to media owners to air content that promote democracy and good leadership, including entertainment like children’s cartoon programs and drama which he said would go a long way in promoting democracy across the globe.

Speaking during the three day event, a researcher, Dr. Mongare Omare said the media especially vernacular media stations have been accused of inciting communities against each other, hence leading to loss of lives and properties.

However later in the year 2013, the same media became an asset in the promotion of peace by not only pacifying communities but also fostering peaceful co-existence among the people irrespective of their ethnic and political inclinations, he said.

The conference which brought together over 80 scholars from across the country was first hosted in 2015. This year’s conference was about research innovation and sustainable development growth (SDGs).

Source: Kenya News Agency