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On Independence Day, Kenyans Fight for Press Freedom

allAfrica.com, Posted: Dec 13, 2008

On Dec. 12, a day normally reserved for the celebration of Kenya's independence from Britain, Kenyans held protests against the government and Parliament's passage of a new bill that threatens freedom of the press, AllAfrica.com reports.

The new bill, which is now awaiting President Mwai Kibaki's approval, gives the government a mandate to spy on journalists and to raid newsrooms to confiscate materials and equipment.

Police arrested several journalists and activists for interrupting and booing the president during a speech at a ceremony held annually at Nairobi's Nyayo Stadium, according to AllAfrica.com.

Kenya boasts the most vibrant media in the East African region. Press freedoms have increased tremendously since a 1991 constitutional amendment legalized multiparty politics, but government officials and many Kenyans contend that journalists have not always acted responsibly. Sensational, speculative stories are not uncommon in Kenyan publications. There are also allegations of journalists taking bribes.


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