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Editorial cartoons and the War on Terror in Kenya’s print media

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This article probes the dominant frames in the first three months after the launch of the War on Terror as revealed through Kenya’s editorial cartoons. While most studies on media and terrorism have focused mainly on the traditional media of television and the mainstream print media, editorial cartoons reveal that the legitimacy of the War on Terror was still a coveted attribute, as is the case in other media. To achieve its objectives, this study appropriates frames from the analysed media content and reveals the ideological positions and discourses that paved the way for the invasion of Afghanistan. Additionally, the study shows that after the launch of the War on Terror in early October, it was not very long before counter-hegemonic frames critical to the war effort emerged. Focusing on the two leading newspapers in Kenya, the Daily Nation and The Standard, this article reveals that even before troops landed in the Gulf, the War on Terror had already found a nascent legitimacy that was to mutate to varying degrees of illegitimacy as the promised war script increasingly veered from the actual war.

Keywords: editorial cartoons; framing; ideology; legitimacy; the War on Terror

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Bayreuth

Publication date: April 27, 2012

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  • The Journal of African Media Studies (JAMS) is an interdisciplinary journal that provides a forum for debate on the historical and contemporary aspects of media and communication in Africa. 
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