Kenya: mobile phone text messages help democracy

Mobile phones text messages in Kenya are quite a good tool for the country’s democracy, one of the strongest in Africa.

The Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation reports on its website, recalling “a global press freedom group”.

As reported on the Daily Nation website, “the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) highlights the Kenyan media’s reliance on text messages from the field in covering the 2007 presidential election”.

The committee said that Kenyans were able to receive updates about the vote count through text messages. Informations otherwise unavailable, as stated by the CPJ.

“According to the report, the SMS feature on mobile phones was also used to “spread vitriol and threats across the landscape” amidst disputes over the vote count”. Others sent messages urging people to stay calm, trying to answer messages of hate.

According to Julianna Rotich and Joshua Goldstein of Harvard University, as mentioned in the CPJ report, “mobile phones and the Internet were a catalyst to both predatory behaviour such as ethnic-based mob violence and to behaviour such as citizen journalism and human rights campaigns.”



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