Civic Voices, Empowerment and Media Literacy in the Digital Era
Edited By Moses Shumow
Chapter 4 – Civic Voices in the Digital Era: Opportunities and Challenges in Kenya
~ Chapter 4 ~
CIVIC VOICES IN THE DIGITAL ERA: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN KENYA
MEDIA CONVERGENCE has resulted in intense debate about the likely impacts on power, politics, culture, and everyday life. As a means of contributing to this ongoing dialog, this chapter explores the implications of mediated community engagement in the Kenyan context. Based on a selected body of communication literature, and a number of specific cases and examples, it examines how societal expectations have changed, as people now demand engaged communication, transparency, online transactions, and the opportunity to hear and be heard. According to McLuhan (2001), each new medium extends our senses in different ways, encouraging certain patterns of communication and preventing others. Finding the right avenues to connect and interact with community is central to building a strong, growing and competitive nation, and so this chapter draws attention to the myriad ways in which digital media have been both used and misused to reshape the Kenyan electioneering landscape. Besides providing theoretical analysis on the opportunities and challenges for political reform presented by digital media, the chapter highlights a few select cases of the empowerment of civic voices in Kenya.
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