Keith Somerville was appointed honorary professor at the Centre for Journalism in April 2016 and teaches the Communications and Humanitarianism and Propaganda - Media, Manipulation and Persuasion modules. He has taught at the Centre for five years and before that taught in the School of Politics and International Relations. A writer and lecturer on African affairs, the history and uses of propaganda, the politics and media coverage of conservation and the global media, he founded and runs the Africa, News and Analysis website. His recent books, Africa’s Long Road Since Independence. The Many Histories of a Continent (January 2016 – Penguin paperback published January 2017) and, Ivory. Power and Poaching in Africa (published at the end of 2016). Radio Propaganda and the Broadcasting of Hatred was published in 2012. He has recently published studies of human-lion conflict as reflected in media coverage of the Cecil the Lion Affair, radio propaganda in South Africa under apartheid and the framing of conflict during the Cold War. His next book, Humans and Lions: Conflict, Conservation and Coexistence, will be published by Routledge in mid-2019. He is a member of the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent, a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group. and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London.  His book on Ivory won the Marjan-Marsh Conservation Award in 2016. He is now working on studies of the depiction of wildlife and conservation in TV documentaries (along with Amy Dickman and Paul Johnson of WildCRU at the University of Oxford) and on the application of ideas of Just War to conservation and anti-poaching strategies.

A career journalist with the BBC World Service and BBC News for three decades before entering the academic world, Keith was a producer and radio documentary maker and then a news programme editor with the World Service. He has an established track record as a trainer and training designer for the BBC, initially with BBC World Service training and latterly with the recently-established BBC College of Journalism, where he was part of an award-winning team that produced online legal training and scenario-based journalism training tools. His knowledge of journalism theory and practice is based on three decades of reporting for, producing, presenting and editing World Service news programmes.

The major world events he has covered include running the World Service team in South Africa for the first post-apartheid elections in 1994; presenting live coverage of the attempted coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev; overseeing the first 10 hours of World Service coverage of the death of Princess Diana; running of live World Service radio coverage on 9/11; and producing and presenting radio documentaries from South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica and the wilds of deepest Cardiff and Norfolk.

back to top



Humans and Lions: Conflict, Conservation and Coexistence, Abingdon: Routledge, forthcoming 2019
Ivory. Power and Poaching in Africa, London: Hurst 2016
Africa’s Long Road Since Independence. The Many Histories of a Continent,  Updated Paperback version, Penguin, January 2017
Africa’s Long Road Since Independence. The Many Histories of a Continent,  London: Kurst and Co, December 2015 
Radio Propaganda and the Broadcasting of Hatred: Historical Development and Definitions Palgrave Macmillan, October 2012.
Southern Africa and the Soviet Union: from Communist International to Commonwealth of Independent States London, Macmillan, 1993
Foreign Military Intervention in Africa London, Pinter, 1990
Angola: Politics, Economics and Society London, Pinter, 1986
Co-wrote - Benin, Burkina Faso and Congo: Politics, Economics and Society, London, Pinter, 1988.

Cecil the lion in the British media: The pride and prejudice of the press, Journal of African media Studies, vol 9 issue 3, 2017
Framing conflict – the Cold War and after: Reflections from an old hack, Media, War and Conflict, special issue, 21 May 2017
Broadcasting Ambivalence: South Africa’s Radio RSA on African Independence and Udi in Rhodesia. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, . ISSN 0143-9685. E-ISSN 1465-3451. (doi: 2017

Radio Wars. Apartheid airwave propaganda, Index on Censorship,  January 2014, volume 43, number 1.
War of the Worlds as a Radio News Training Tool, in Joy Elizabeth Hayes, Kathleen Battles, and Wendy Hilton-Morrow (ed)  War of the Worlds to Social Media, New York: Peter Lang, 2013

Violence, hate speech and inflammatory broadcasting in Kenya: The
problems of definition and identification, Ecquid Novi:African Journalism Studies, 32, 1, 2011.
Kenya: Violence, hate speech and vernacular radio MIGS Occasional Paper, 2010,
British media Coverage of Kenya's Post-Election Violence 2007-8, Journal of Eastern African Studies
Review of Anthony Sampson, The Anatomist, Journalism Practice, vol 3, Number 3, 2009
BBC Wounds that won't heal, British Journalism Review Vol 20, Number 1, March 2009
Review of Richard Dowden's Africa: altered states, ordinary miracles in Journalism Practice Vol 3, Number 2, 2009
Written Evidence on South African Foreign Policy in House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Fifth report 2003-4.
Africa after the Cold War: Frozen in Time or Frozen Out in Fawcett and Sayigh, The Third World Beyond the Cold War Oxford University Press, 1999
Angola: Groping Towards peace or Slipping Back Towards War? in William Gutteridge and Jack Spence (ed) Violence in Southern Africa Frank Cass 1997
The Failure of Democratic Reform in Angola and Zaire, IISS Survival, 35, 3, I993
USSR and Africa in Alex Pravda (ed) Yearbook of Soviet Foreign Relations, IB Tauris 1991
Angola: Soviet Client State or State of Socialist Orientation in Millennium Journal of International Studies, vol 13, no3 1984
The Soviet Union and Zimbabwe in R. Craig Nation and Mark V. Kauppi, The Soviet Impact in Africa DC Heath, 1984
The Soviet Union and Southern Africa Since 1976 in Journal of Modern African Studies, vol 22, I, 1984.
Regular contributions on Angola, Malawi and African democratisation in the RIIA journal, World Today, 1990-1995.
Africa Chapter in Strategic Survey IISS 1994 and 1995
Western Siberia and the Prospects for Soviet Oil in International Relations vol 7, 5, 1983.
1981-1990 Malawi chapter in Africa Contemporary Record
1983-1990 China and Africa chapter in Africa Contemporary Record
Keith has contributed numerous articles and book reviews for publications such as the Guardian, Independent, Economist, Listener, New African, African Business, Africa, Africa Now, Journal of Modern African Studies, African Affairs, Third World Quarterly, International Affairs (RIIAQ), World Today (RIIA) and Modern Africa.


Web articles: 
Framing Conflict and War – The Cold War and After,  Ethical Journalism Network, 24 March 2016,
African Arguments  No longer at ease: clouds on the horizon for Botswana’s conservation success story – By Keith Somerville
Politicsweb What is driving the demise of the African elephant? 
e-international relations The Central African Republic – An Artificial State 
African ArgumentsFraming death – how will the world mark the passing of Nelson Mandela? – By Keith Somerville
e-international relations African Wars and the Politics of Ivory 
African Arguments - Angola: Is UNITA sinking  after Chivukuvuku jumps ship? 
African Arguments - Getting Somalia Wrong? – Signs of hope in a shattered state – a realistic but empathetic analysis – review by Keith Somerville

African Arguments -Kenyatta, Ruto, Sang and Muthaura to face trial at ICC for crimes against humanity – By Keith Somerville
Review of Mary Harper's Getting Somalia Wrong? 
Review of Africa's Odious Debts
Age old tribal bloodlust – the curse of Africa 
South Africa: The end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? Committtee of Concerned Journalists May 2008 
Motors, Murders and Mugabe: A Car Crash Or a Conspiracy to Kill?  Committtee of Concerned Journalists March 2008 
Impartial or Cowardly: A Journalist's View of BBC Rejection of Gaza Aid Plea Committtee of Concerned Journalists January 2008 
Africa is Tribal, Europe is Ethnic: The Power of Words in the Media Committtee of Concerned Journalists December 2008
Online and interactive teaching output: 
BBC Legal Online – an interactive course on defamation, contempt, sex offences, children in law and copyright.  Executive producer for the College of Journalism.
Sources, Scoops and Stories – a face-to-face role play course dealing with corroborating complex stories and the use of anonymous sources. Developed the role play elements of the course and delivered the course to hundreds of BBC journalists.
Doubts, Dilemmas and Decisions – an ethical decision-making course for senior BBC journalists.  Co-author and facilitator.
Journalism Tutor – a live, online interactive writing and decision-making tool (on the BBC College of Journalism website).

back to top

Research Interests

The major areas of research are spread across areas of propaganda, the media coverage of Africa and of conservation and the political and economic aspects of the conservation .and the wildlife trade. Keith is working on a study of radio propaganda during the apartheid period in South Africa, both the government domestic and external radio output through SABC and Radio RSA and the ANC’s radio Freedom. Another area of study being currently pursued is the media coverage of human-lion conflict, prompted by the press and broadcast feeding frenzy over the shooting of Cecil the Lion – there are serious issues to be examined about the way media reporting and representations of conservation issues affect public opinion and conservation/environmental policy. back to top


Keith teaches the Communications and Humanitarianism, and the Propaganda – Media, Manipulation and Persuasion modules at the Centre for Journalism. back to top

Journalism, University of Kent, Room G1-08 Gillingham Building,University of Kent at Medway, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4AG

Enquiries: +44 (0)1634 20 2913 or contact us

Last Updated: 31/01/2019