How Journalists Influence Gen Z Protests’ Impact in Kenya

The wave of protests led by Gen Z in Kenya has underscored the significant role of modern ICT and social media. These protests not only had a local impact but also drew global attention. The push for government accountability is primarily driven by Gen Zs and millennials, in a country where 75% of the population is under 35.


The Power of Social Media in Modern Protests.

Social media platforms like X, Facebook, and Instagram have become essential tools for organizing and mobilizing protests. In Kenya, the hashtag #RejectFinancebill2024 became a rallying cry, uniting thousands of young people in their quest for change.

These platforms enable rapid dissemination of information, coordination of protest activities, and real-time updates on the ground. This digital mobilization has empowered Gen Z to challenge the status quo and demand accountability from their leaders.


The Double-Edged Sword of Social Media: Misinformation and Disinformation.

While social media has proven to be a powerful catalyst for change, it also comes with significant challenges. The spread of misinformation and disinformation is a growing concern, particularly in the context of protests.

False information can escalate tensions, incite violence, and undermine the credibility of legitimate movements. This underscores the urgent need for journalists to step up as gatekeepers of truth, diligently fact-checking information before it reaches the public.

The Crucial Role of Journalists in Fact-Checking.


What is Fact-Checking?

Fact-checking involves verifying the accuracy and authenticity of information through investigative means. This process is vital in an age where information can be easily manipulated and spread across various formats, including written articles, videos, and audio recordings.

Journalists must provide evidence-based information and accurate testimonies to counter the rise of false narratives.


Why do people fall for misinformation or disinformation?

Several factors contribute to the widespread belief in false information:

1. Confirmation bias: People tend to favor information that confirms their preexisting beliefs. For example, if someone believes a particular tribe is corrupt, they are more likely to accept and spread information that supports this view, regardless of its veracity.

2. Emotional Appeal: Information that triggers strong emotions can override rational judgment. For instance, a staged video of someone crying after a fake robbery can elicit sympathy and anger, leading to widespread dissemination without verification.

3. Reiteration Effect: Repeated exposure to the same information across different media platforms (newspapers, TV, radio, and social media) increases the likelihood of believing it. This creates echo chambers that amplify misinformation.

The Role of Fact-Checking in Modern Journalism.


Building trust in the media.

With the proliferation of information disorders—malinformation (true but harmful information), disinformation (false and harmful information), and misinformation (false but not necessarily harmful information)—the role of journalists is more critical than ever. By rigorously fact-checking and providing verified information, journalists can build trust in the media and ensure the public makes informed decisions.

Reaching All Demographics.

In a country like Kenya, where rural areas may have limited access to reliable information, journalists have a duty to bridge the information gap. Fact-checked reporting ensures that even those in remote areas receive accurate news, enabling them to make intelligent choices.

The need for vigilant journalism.

As Kenya navigates the challenges posed by misinformation during protests, the role of journalists as vigilant fact-checkers cannot be overstated. By prioritizing accuracy and truth, journalists can combat the spread of false information and support the public’s right to make informed decisions. This responsibility is especially crucial in rural areas where access to accurate information is limited.

In conclusion, KICTANet through its advocacy and policy efforts in Kenya, works to ensure that digital rights and freedoms are upheld, fostering an environment where journalists can operate freely and contribute to informed public discourse. By advocating for transparent governance and access to information, KICTANet complements journalists’ roles in safeguarding democratic principles and promoting accountability.

Neema Mujesia is the communications officer at KICTANet. She works in the Gender Digital Rights Program and advocates for human rights for all in the technology industry.





Neema Mujesia information

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