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Mediated Communities

Civic Voices, Empowerment and Media Literacy in the Digital Era

Moses Shumow

Mediated Communities brings together a diverse, global cohort of academics and professional communicators to assess the current state of democratic mobilizing around the world and the ways in which protest movements are being transformed in the midst of a communication revolution. Contributors draw on a variety of international settings – from Greece to Lebanon, China to Argentina – to demonstrate the ways in which community organizing in the digital age relies increasingly on digital media to communicate, help participants find common ground, and fight for change. Contributors acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead for creating real and lasting democratic change, but at the same time are able to draw attention to the potential that digital media hold for strengthening citizen voices around the globe.
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Chapter 4 – Civic Voices in the Digital Era: Opportunities and Challenges in Kenya


~ Chapter 4 ~


Rosemary Nyaole-Kowuor


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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