Kenyans used Twitter to challenge foreign media reports of 2013 elections. (Google Images)
Kenyans used Twitter to challenge foreign media reports of 2013 elections. (Google Images)

Caitlin Dewey of the Washington Post is reporting that Kenyans have taken to Twitter to challenge naysayers and members of the foreign media for suggesting that there will be a repeat of the violence in the 2007 elections during this year’s elections.

Dewey writes:

“Two hashtags mocking foreign media went viral on Kenyan Twitter today, both directed at outlets that reported on the possibility of violence and disorganization at the polls. The first, #SomeoneTellCNN, lampooned a CNN report on militias were preparing for conflict in Kenya’s Rift Valley. #PicturesforStuart took aim at Stuart Norval, an anchor on France 24, who tweeted about ‘dramatic pictures’ of ‘huge crowds fall[ing] over each other to vote.’ Kenyans tweeted their own “dramatic pictures” back.”

These criticisms aren’t news to foreign media, who have heard them before — both on Twitter and in more official forums. The hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN first surfaced in March 2012, when CNN aired a segment on a bus-station bombing with the graphic “Violence in Kenya.” Twitter-users complained so loudly about the allegedly misleading banner that the hashtag trended worldwide and CNN’s David McKenzie apologized for the graphic.

TBW: Perhaps media outlets should either work with reporters on the ground who are actually members of the culture or train reporters to be mindful of perpetuating dominant narratives that have more to do with colonial perceptions of Africans than the realities that many face. Context and competence, especially when covering international stories, are essential to good journalism.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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