Media Use and Political Trust in Kenya: Media Malaise or Virtuous Circle?

Gilbert Kipkoech


Although there is a large corpus of research on the relationship between media use and political trust, this scholarship mainly comes from the experiences of audiences in the West and Confucian Asia. The current study departs from these contexts by investigating the association between news media exposure and political trust in a growing African democracy—Kenya. Hierarchical regressions analyses were conducted using data from a national representative sample (N = 2,400). The findings show that news media use and particularly television news use is negatively related to political trust while newspaper reading, listening to the radio, and digital news use do not predict confidence in political actors. Moreover, political performance and perceived corruption significantly moderate this relationship while subjective economic evaluations do not moderate the hypothesized relationship.


media effects, political trust, Kenya, news media, public opinion

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