Baseline study on East African media coverage of the productive use of off-grid solar energy

A study released by the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) examines East African news media coverage of solar energy and the productive use of solar energy (PUSE) in agriculture, focusing on leading daily newspapers and television stations in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. The study explores the attention and nature of coverage from selected newspapers and television stations with national reach paid to solar energy and the PUSE in agriculture from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023.

The study found that the media in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda do not treat solar energy and solar energy use in agriculture as serious public issues, as evidenced by the limited coverage. Reporters and editors interviewed attributed the limited coverage to various factors, including:

  • Lack of knowledge
  • Budget constraints
  • Perceived audience disinterest in solar energy stories
  • Lack of knowledge among farmers, solar technology suppliers, and stakeholders, and
  • Lack of reporters specialising in solar energy coverage.

Additional findings:

  • Conventional news reporting (he-said-she-said) made up most of the coverage.
  • The study reveals that out of the total coverage, 30 stories (representing 47.6%) focused on solar energy use in agriculture.
  • The highest number out of these 30 stories addressed issues of financing off-grid solar solutions and community impact. Stories on solar entrepreneurship and innovation came second, followed by PUSE stakeholder coordination and ecosystem support.
  • Most stories were about solar energy for irrigation, accounting for seven out of every 10 stories on solar energy use in agriculture.
  • 9 out of every 10 solar energy stories focusing on agriculture originated from events. The events that triggered the coverage included CSO/NGO activities, company events, and government activities.
  • Men voices and actions dominated voice coverage.

Read the full report below.

 

 

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