Journal of
Media and Communication Studies

  • Abbreviation: J. Media Commun. Stud.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2545
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMCS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 226

Full Length Research Paper

Journalism versus national security: An analysis of reportage by journalists in Kenya defense forces activities during “operation Linda Nchi” (2011-2012)

Anne Maureen Syallow
  • Anne Maureen Syallow
  • Department of International Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 12 October 2021
  •  Accepted: 09 December 2021
  •  Published: 31 December 2021


This study sought to investigate the complex relationship between journalistic activities and national security. The study answered the following questions: At what point should reporters put aside their professional and career interests for the sake of national security? Should press limits be self-imposed? What obligations do journalists have when it obtains information with national security implication?  The study used content analysis to measure these thematic areas. The analysis used 18 newspapers drawn randomly from publications by The Daily Nation and the standard newspapers in Kenya between October 2011 and February 2012. It searched for narratives that undermined government efforts to safe guard national security, caused fear among citizens and undermined the Kenya Defense forces efforts in fighting the Al-Shabaab. The study found out that 64% of the articles exposed government moves geared towards protecting Kenya’s national security, 37% caused fear among citizens by exposing the attacks to Al-Shabbab hence retaliation was eminent and 81% did not care about secrecy of information as they exposed crucial information from the government that could endanger Kenya’s national security. The study concluded that journalist should be trained on ethical reporting and guided on how their coverage can either salvage a national security crisis or make it worse.


Key words: Media, Journalism, National security.