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22 Mar 2016

Catrina Stewart, Independent (UK)

Kenya: Nation Media Group accused of acquiescing to govt. demands to muzzle press freedom; company refutes allegations

"Aga Khan accused of squeezing Kenya press freedom after newspaper sacks cartoonist and journalists"\

...The Daily Nation, East Africa’s most influential newspaper, is owned by Prince Karim Aga Khan, a British businessman and the hereditary leader of the world’s 15 million Ismaili Shias, who confer him with “demi-god” status. He now stands accused of acquiescing to demands from the Kenyan government to gag the newspaper in a bid to protect his business interests in the country. The government is by far the country’s biggest advertiser and has the power to extend or rescind tax breaks...

Since November last year, a series of senior journalists have been purged from the Daily Nation as well as Gado, including a managing editor who wrote a searing New Year’s editorial attacking President Uhuru Kenyatta over his failure to tackle corruption. The cuts have left the industry reeling, with executives and journalists accusing the Aga Khan of scheming with the government as the country heads into tense elections next year. Many fear that the government is seeking to roll back hard-won freedoms...[Daily Nation newspaper's editor-in-chief, Tom Mshindi] said [a]ccusations that management was caving in to government pressure were, he said, unfounded. “We have a very strong reputation of independence,”...