During 2013, iMedia was requested to evaluate two of Internews’s peace building programmes in Kenya, the Land and Conflict Sensitive Journalism programme which targeted mainly vernacular language media, and the Free and Fair Media programme which focused on mainstream media. The evaluation found in both cases that these programmes succeeded in adjusting the mindset of many journalists, some of whom had been implicated in the violence following the 2007 elections. A combination of workshops, opportunities to engage people making news in round-table meetings, and on the job mentoring resulted in near universal praise for the efforts of the Internews team, from journalists, government officials and civil society.
It also contributed to significant improvements in the coverage of violent events such as the Westgate shopping siege, which was taking place during iMedia’s evaluation visit.
And it gave many journalists a new enthusiasm for their profession. In the words of one of the trainees: Today my stories are people driven, they are more focused on development than on politics … it is redeeming journalism from the hands of unscrupulous politicians who own our media.