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Questioning the Kibera Discourse: Articulating Representations and Lived Experience in a Nairobi Slum
Unformatted Document Text:  KIBERA DISCOURSE 21 Because several respondents claimed non-residents held uninformed views about Kibera, we asked them how they thought non-residents formed these opinions. Respondents stated that these views come from both other people and the media. As for other people, respondents mentioned that these ideas come from “rumors” (I17) or “the way people are talking” (I20). Respondents also credited various media forms for providing these uninformed views, including TV (I12, I13), radio (I13), the news (I20), and the Internet (I19). One respondent added that the only thing outsiders ask Kibera residents is: “are you the ones that uprooted the railway?” (I16) While he surely was making an overstatement, considering these interviews took place a year after the second uprooting, the ubiquity of this question suggests both that media images of these events were influential and that non-residents may know little else about Kibera. Kenyan Media Coverage of Kibera Our last set of questions asked residents to discuss Kenyan media coverage of Kibera. A handful of residents gave the media high marks, explaining that Kenyan media were doing their job; they were reporting on what is happening in Kibera. As one man explained, “without news media there, there is no one who will know that this and this has happened in Kibera” (I01). Another added, “they cover what is true, cover what they think is right” (I31). Some felt Kenyan media provided an appropriate amount of coverage of Kibera, and one student even felt Kenya media provided favorable coverage: “They don’t talk bad about people of Kibera. They talk good of them” (I24). While these respondents said they liked media coverage of Kibera, they had a difficult time articulating specific things about media coverage that they liked. The vast majority of respondents were critical of Kenyan media coverage of Kibera. These respondents felt Kenyan media reported Kibera the same way that outsiders saw it, filled with all of the vices discussed earlier. One woman who had lived in Kibera for three decades

Authors: Ekdale, Brian.
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KIBERA DISCOURSE
 21 
Because several respondents claimed non-residents held uninformed views about Kibera, 
we asked them how they thought non-residents formed these opinions. Respondents stated that 
these views come from both other people and the media. As for other people, respondents 
mentioned that these ideas come from “rumors” (I17) or “the way people are talking” (I20). 
Respondents also credited various media forms for providing these uninformed views, including 
TV (I12, I13), radio (I13), the news (I20), and the Internet (I19). One respondent added that the 
only thing outsiders ask Kibera residents is: “are you the ones that uprooted the railway?” (I16) 
While he surely was making an overstatement, considering these interviews took place a year 
after the second uprooting, the ubiquity of this question suggests both that media images of these 
events were influential and that non-residents may know little else about Kibera.
Kenyan Media Coverage of Kibera 
Our last set of questions asked residents to discuss Kenyan media coverage of Kibera. A 
handful of residents gave the media high marks, explaining that Kenyan media were doing their 
job; they were reporting on what is happening in Kibera. As one man explained, “without news 
media there, there is no one who will know that this and this has happened in Kibera” (I01). 
Another added, “they cover what is true, cover what they think is right” (I31). Some felt Kenyan 
media provided an appropriate amount of coverage of Kibera, and one student even felt Kenya 
media provided favorable coverage: “They don’t talk bad about people of Kibera. They talk good 
of them” (I24). While these respondents said they liked media coverage of Kibera, they had a 
difficult time articulating specific things about media coverage that they liked.
The vast majority of respondents were critical of Kenyan media coverage of Kibera. 
These respondents felt Kenyan media reported Kibera the same way that outsiders saw it, filled 
with all of the vices discussed earlier. One woman who had lived in Kibera for three decades 


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