BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 16:41 GMT
Kenya to probe radio hate speech
Boy listens to radio in camp for displaced people 2 February 2008
Radio is the most important media outlet in Kenya
The Kenyan government has ordered an investigation into claims that radio stations broadcast hate speeches during the disputed presidential elections.

Information Minister Samuel Poghiso said a task force would identify cases and politicians who had fuelled the ethnic violence would face the law.

At least 1,000 people were killed in the violence that followed the poll.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to go to Kenya to support efforts to help political reconciliation.

There are reports of a possible agreement at talks between the government and opposition.

Mediator Kofi Annan will give details between the two sides on Friday. Talks are to resume next week.

The BBC's East Africa correspondent, Karen Allen, says it is understood that representatives for President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity and opposition leader Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement have agreed in principle to form some kind of grand coalition.

Mr Kibaki was declared the winner of the disputed December poll but opposition supporters claimed the count was rigged and political clashes fuelled inter-ethnic violence.


Correspondents say a number of Kenyan media stations were accused of fuelling the ethnic conflict.

Radio is the most popular medium, especially in rural areas. Nearly all households have a radio set.

Any politician caught in hate speech distribution would have to face the law
Samuel Poghiso

There are scores of stations broadcasting in the numerous local languages, as well as Swahili and English. Most outlets are privately-owned and entertainment-oriented.

Mr Poghiso told the BBC said the task force would look into ways to prevent hate speech being broadcast in future.

One consideration would be following the example of Tanzania, where radio stations can broadcast only in Swahili and English.

Mr Poghiso said one of the problems at the moment was having to transcribe all the broadcasts in different languages from the time.

But he said those transcriptions could provide evidence that would be used against politicians who used hate speech.

Code of ethics

Mr Poghiso said he supported suggestions of a South Africa-style truth and reconciliation commission to help bring people back together.

Odinga supporters riot in Kibera (30 December 2007)
Clashes between rival political supporters turned into ethnic violence

"Unless we deal with the actual situation, the messages will not stop. Unless neighbour begins to go back to neighbour and say: 'I am sorry' and the other one says the same, you can't stop what is going on."

Mr Poghiso said another major issue would be advising media outlets on how to act professionally, especially in terms of employing qualified professionals to do the job "rather than picking people off the street who can speak the language".

"Our own media law provides a code of ethics for what can and cannot go on air," he said.

"All the professional journalists have that code and they know the code. Any politician caught in hate speech distribution would have to face the law."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific