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About the TalkCheck Program

TalkCheck slots in with the Internews Land and Conflict-Sensitive Journalism program, with an emphasis on hate speech and civic education in Coast Province, ahead of the general election and use of social media.

TalkCheck’s efforts focus on key radio outlets in Coast Province, which have the widest audience and influence. Over four months, in the run up to the General Elections and immediately after, Internews is providing intensive conflict-sensitive journalism training for radio talk show hosts who play an important role in public discourse and drive much of the current affairs discussion via the airwaves. It is a critical area where hate speech, if unchecked, can thrive.

Targeted radio stations from the Coast Province include Radio Rahma, Radio Kaya, Radio Salaam, Pwani FM, Pili Pili, Baraka FM, and Sheki FM. Specifically, training includes a focus on vocabulary and how to handle callers with radical political views, as well as elements of civic education: by giving hosts tools to understand and inform communities on the election process. The hosts will also be able to lead meaningful discussions on how to realize affirmative action though the new devolved system of Government, rather than seeking secession for the Coast Province.

TalkCheck creates an environment that enables journalists trained in conflict-sensitive ethical approaches to work effectively. Importantly, news editors and other key station management figures will be exposed to the conflict sensitive journalism methodology and equipped with ethical principles and creative leadership skills specific to their positions. Internews’ Editorial Leadership curriculum will be introduced to senior staff at partner radio stations during the life of the project.


Partnerships to implement the program include state institutions such as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and a number of civil society organizations and community based organizations.


TalkCheck includes a specific activity to identify and avoid hate speech in political rallies: an innovative intervention that involves citizens directly in monitoring hate speech. A group of citizens have been recruited to attend political meetings and rallies with the specific purpose of listening to the tone of speech there.

The citizens are being taught to flag and map out incidences of inflammatory speech using an Ushahidi platform. Their reports, calls and SMS messages reporting specific incidents are then plotted on Google Maps to reveal exactly where inflammatory speech occurred. This activity will help journalists track the campaign, check and control politically oriented hate speech and develop stories.

TalkCheck empowers journalists and talk show hosts to use social media as a source of positive information and to counter hate speech appearing on the stations’ Facebook pages. Twitter and Facebook can be of great use to tell stories on peace and reconciliation if handled professionally.

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