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article imageKenya To Investigate Cases of Hate Speech Over Radio Waves

By Can Tran     Feb 14, 2008 in World
With radio as the most important outlet of communications of Kenya, the government has issued an order to investigate claims of hate speeches being broadcast by radio stations on the day of the disputed elections that caused the country to go into chaos.
At least 1,000 people have been killed in the ethnic violence. The violence was fueled when incumbent Mwai Kibaki had won the election and was reelected. Opposition candidate Raila Odinga and his party the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) had accused Kibaki of rigging the elections.
Currently, there are talks between both sides assisted by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan of a possible power-sharing deal and a constitution to be drafted in at least one year. There is the strong possibility that a post of prime minister will be created as well.
In regards to the reports of hate speeches, a task force will be in charge of identify the cases. Samuel Poghiso, the Information Minister said that politicians identified having to have played a vole in the ethnic violence will be prosecuted.
Currently, US President Bush has sent US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the country to assist Kofi Annan in the reconciliation and the power-sharing agreement.
According to correspondents, many media stations across the country were accused of adding fuel to the flames of the conflict. Radio is a popular medium that television. Almost all households throughout Kenya have a radio station instead of a TV.
Poghiso said: “Unless we deal with the actual situation, the messages will not stop. Unless neighbor begins to go back to neighbor and say: ‘I am sorry’ and the other one says the same, you can’t stop what is going on.”
Poghiso gave the indication that stopping hate speech on Kenya’s airwaves would not happen overnight. He gave the suggestion that Kenya would follow Tanzania’s example where the nation has radio stations in only English and Swahili. Kenya’s problem is translating it into different languages.
On a side note, Obama’s relatives in Kenya listened to the New Hampshire Democratic primaries on the radio.
More about Kenya, Africa, Hate speech