n Journal of Public Administration - Kofi Annan's 2008 use of the mass media in Kenya - a strategy for international mediation?

Volume 48, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



In a mediator's strategies during international mediation to peacefully settle conflicts, it is traditionally held that the mediation process is conducted in secret and the content deemed to be private. Very little information is shared with the mass media and only on 'on a need to know' basis (Bloomfield & Moulton, 1997:63; Galtung, 2000:162). This author argues that when too much secrecy exists, journalists are bound to make up stories or post biased press releases from either side of the conflict. Both situations pose a great danger to the mediation process. This article explores Annan's strategies and techniques in respect to the mass media during the mediation process in Kenya. The literature tends to neglect the role of the mediator in relation to the media during a mediation process because, historically, mediation is conducted in secret, like much in diplomacy. A number of authors have noted in passing that mediators need to use the mass media but have not explored this interaction in a detailed manner (Bercovitch, 1997; Wetzstein, 2010; Wehr & Lederach, 1991; Wolfsfeld, 2004; Juma, 2009). The author argues that Kenya produces a variation on the basic mediation theme and in particular on Annan's interaction with the mass media in a manner not developed in the literature.

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