Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:25 pm Post subject: Speech at the new Printing Press for the Nation
Remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Ceremony Commissioning the new Printing Press for the Nation Media Group (Nairobi, Kenya).
17 March 2016
Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru
Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed
Governor of Machakos County, Dr Alfred Mutua
Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps
NMG Chairman Wilfred Kiboro
Ladies and Gentlemen
This is a great day for the Nation Media Group and for the media community in Kenya, as we take a major step forward in our efforts to serve this country and this region ever more effectively.
What does a new printing press mean? Several things. It means more attractive newspapers. It means faster printing and earlier delivery. It means fewer delays and quicker responses when breaking news develops. It means better quality for our advertisers – more colour for example, for readers and advertisers alike. And, its construction has also meant more investment in the local economy.
At a moment like this, I find myself thinking back to the days when we first launched the Nation – that was more than half a century ago. It’s hard to believe sometimes that it has been that long. And frankly, it is even harder to believe that so much time has passed since my childhood days in Kenya, and my continuing early visits to this country.
Over that time, as you know, our Development Network has built a range of activities here – in education, in health care, commerce, tourism, finance, and other fields – that we hoped would help to improve the quality of life for the people of this country and this region.
Over those many years a great deal has changed, of course. And the change has been particularly striking for the Nation Media Group. We have expanded by launching new newspapers like the East African and the Business Daily, by moving into the television and radio worlds, and by expanding into other countries in East Africa. And we have also moved decisively into on-line, computerised distribution of news and information.
Our celebration today marks one other important transformation. We hear a lot about technological marvels these days. And the one we often hear the most about is how we can serve readers through their computer screens and mobile phones. But that’s not the full modernisation story.
The new press we commission today is also a technological marvel. What it symbolises is our determination to use the very best technology we can find in any part of the world to do a better job for our customers – including the customers we serve on paper and through the printed word.
When I think back to the founding of the Nation, and when I reflect on how much has changed and how far we have come, I think especially about the hopes and dreams with which we launched this company. Our goal then was to create a news medium that belonged to the whole of the nation of Kenya – and that of course is why we chose our company name. That dream moved ahead in a big way when we took the company to the public shareholding market, so that today a majority of Nation shares are owned by the general public of Kenya.
Our additional central goal at the time of our founding was to create a news medium that would be truly independent: a place where the public could find a voice it could trust; an objective and thoughtful voice; a voice that would tell people what the facts are, as reliably as possible. Our goal was not to tell people what to think, but to give them reliable information so that they could think, more clearly, for themselves.
To help us move down that challenging road we also created a formal set of editorial guidelines. These guidelines emerged as a great deal of discussion and debate took place internally and externally, and they were then endorsed at a meeting of our public shareholders. These guidelines represent a set of ethical and procedural standards – our honour code as independent journalists. Adhering to them is something we think of as a moral obligation.
We continue to think and talk a great deal about those editorial guidelines. We had a major meeting just yesterday where we talked again, with our editors and with our Board of Directors, about how we could implement those standards most effectively. We all concluded that the role of a truly independent media house is more important now than ever – in Africa and all around the world. And we also acknowledged that fulfilling that independent role may be more difficult now than ever before.
All over the world, the number of media voices is exploding – websites, bloggers and social media voices multiply every day. The result is often a wild mix of messages: good information and bad information, superficial impressions, fleeting images, and a good deal of confusion and conflict. And this is true all over the world.
On top of that, this is also a time when public emotions and political sentiments are intensifying and even polarising – again, all over the world.
The result, some people say, is that we live in a “post-fact” society. Yes, a post-fact society. It’s not just that everyone feels entitled to his or her own opinion – that’s a good thing. But the problem comes when people feel they are entitled to their own facts. What is true, too often, can then depend not on what actually happened, but on whose side you are. Our search for the truth can then become less important than our allegiance to a cause – an ideology, for example, or a political party, or a tribal or religious identity, or a pro-government or opposition outlook. And so publics all over the world can begin to fragment, and societies can drift into deadlock.
In such a world, it is absolutely critical – more than ever – that the public should have somewhere to turn for reliable, balanced, objective and accurate information, as best as it can be discovered. No one, including the Nation Media Group, will ever be able to do that perfectly. But it is critically important that all of us should try.
That may sound idealistic, but that is the reason that I founded the Nation a half century ago. That is also why we have also recently started a new Graduate School of Media and Communication here in Nairobi as part of the Aga Khan University. And it is why I wanted to be here today… to share in another milestone moment for the Nation Media Group.
As we often do at milestone events in our personal lives as well as in our institutional lives, we think today about our dreams of the past and our hopes for the future. Milestone moments are times for celebration, and they are also times for rededication. As we commission this new press today, we are also rededicating ourselves to the ideals which gave birth to this company almost six decades ago, and that have since propelled it forward ever since.
I am deeply pleased to be part of this moment, and to share in it with all of you.
Thank you for being here, and thank you for your attention.
VIDEO: Reliable media and accurate information critical in a post-fact world, says Mawlana Hazar Imam
18 March 2016
Nairobi, 17 March 2016 — Mawlana Hazar Imam commissioned a state-of-the-art printing press for the Nation Media Group today, marking an important new milestone for the East African media house that he founded more than half a century ago.
» AKDN press release
» Remarks by Mawlana Hazar Imam
» Looking back: A half century of the Daily Nation
Looking back at the establishment of the Daily Nation and how society and technology has evolved in the years since, Hazar Imam reaffirmed the critical role of the media house today, in what he described as a “post-fact society.”
He also maintained the continued importance of print media at a time when digital technology is often seen to be encroaching on traditional newspapers. The new printing press, said Mawlana Hazar Imam, represents “our determination to use the very best technology we can find in any part of the world to do a better job for our customers – including the customers we serve on paper and through the printed word.”
The new Manroland COLORMAN e:line is the fastest newspaper press in its class offering the highest quality of print and best-in-class automation. It has the ability to churn out up to 86 000 copies per hour — a significant leap from the 60 000 copies that the previous press could to produce — slashing production time by a massive 65 per cent for the Daily Nation, Taifa Leo, Business Daily and The EastAfrican weekly.
Mawlana Hazar Imam watches as the newly commissioned Nation Media printing press commences operation. Aziz Islamshah
Mawlana Hazar Imam watches as the newly commissioned Nation Media printing press commences operation.
The commissioning ceremony was attended by numerous dignitaries, including the Cabinet Secretary for the Kenyan Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology, the Honourable Joe Mucheru and Dr Alfred Mutua, Governor of Machakos County — where the print facility is located — as well as leaders from the Nation Media Group and the Aga Khan Development Network. Following his remarks, Hazar Imam unveiled a plaque and was given a tour of the new press.
Fifty-six years ago, the aim “was to create a news medium that would be truly independent: a place where the public could find a voice it could trust,” said Mawlana Hazar Imam. “Our goal was not to tell people what to think, but to give them reliable information so that they could think, more clearly, for themselves.”
However, “the role of a truly independent media house is more important now than ever – in Africa and all around the world,” asserted Hazar Imam. “Fulfilling that independent role may be more difficult now than ever before.”
He explained that the explosive success of digital mediums has produced a global flood of voices, and a mixture of information — some good, some bad. But at a time of intensifying emotions and growing political polarisation, this is resulting in a society in which people feel “entitled to their own facts.”
“In such a world, it is absolutely critical – more than ever – that the public should have somewhere to turn for reliable, balanced, objective and accurate information,” said Mawlana Hazar Imam.
Nation Media was founded with this purpose, said Hazar Imam. He also mentioned the Aga Khan University’s new Graduate School of Media and Communications, which will help advance the calibre of journalism throughout East Africa and the developing world.
“As we commission this new press today, we are also rededicating ourselves to the ideals which gave birth to this company almost six decades ago, and that have since propelled it forward ever since.”
Mawlana Hazar Imam, together with leaders from the Nation Media Group, reviews the quality of the newspaper product produced by the new press. Aly Z. Ramji
Mawlana Hazar Imam, together with leaders from the Nation Media Group, reviews the quality of the newspaper product produced by the new press.
Daily Nation: Aga Khan accused over squeezing Kenya press freedom after newspaper sacks cartoonist and journalists
The 'Daily Nation', once renowned for its fearless independence, has sacked several senior journalists amid fears that its owner, the Aga Khan, is co-operating with the government ahead of elections
Catrina Stewart Nairobi
The headline ‘Never again’ refers to election violence surrounding the 2013 election. The paper is credited with helping the movement that returned multiparty democracy to Kenya AP
Until recently Godfrey Mwampembwa was one of Africa’s best known political cartoonists and one of the prized assets of Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper.
When he was suddenly dismissed from the paper late last year, many were left baffled. None more so than Mr Mwampembwa himself.
Mr Mwampembwa, whose pen-name is Gado, learned of his fate from the paper’s editor-in-chief, Tom Mshindi, when he attempted to return early from sabbatical.
Google refuses Kenyan film board’s demand that it take down gay music
“He said, ‘They have decided not to renew your contract’,” he told The Independent. I said, ‘Who are they?’ He couldn’t answer.
“My reading is that the biggest pressure came from this administration.”
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.
Prince Karim, whose father’s ex-wives included the actress Rita Hayworth, grew up in Nairobi and founded the Daily Nation in 1960, building it into the country’s foremost newspaper. But his vast business empire – including the Aga Khan hospital, the Serena hotel chain, insurers and a Kenyan bank – has long since dwarfed his media interests.
As his empire has grown, so, too, have his vulnerabilities. In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni’s antagonism to Prince Karim’s media interests led to a “taming” of his newspaper the Daily Monitor.
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 Aga Khan, pictured with the former Empress of Iran Farah Pahlavi, is accused of gagging his own paper
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.
The Aga Khan’s spokesman declined to comment, but the government denied claims of state-led pressure. “This has nothing to do with the presidency,” said Manoah Epinisu, presidential spokesman. “Anyone saying that must be absolutely mad.”
Widely regarded as Africa’s most talented satirist, Gado lampooned African politicians with merciless aplomb. But, arguably, it was his endless drawings of President Kenyatta in shackles, when he faced charges at the International Criminal Court over ethnic violence, which drew most fire. “I was told that they, the board, say you have to stop,” Mr Mwampembwa, a Tanzanian, recalled. “I was pretty much a marked man.”
His troubles escalated with the publication of a cartoon pillorying Tanzania’s then-President, Jakaya Kikwete, and he was persuaded to take time off to allow tempers to cool, before he was cut loose. But if Gado’s departure had a sense of inevitability about it, the exit of other critical journalists did not.
Denis Galava, a seasoned journalist, was the most senior editor at the paper the day he wrote his now infamous leader, a no-holds-barred open letter to the president that went viral on social media.
“We reject the almost criminal… negligence with which your government has responded to our national crises this past year,” he wrote in the 2 January editorial. “With the exception of a few family businesses and tenderpreneurs [those who win government contracts by tender] who raked in billions of shillings – thanks largely to political patronage – everyone is losing money in this country.”
Mr Galava said events took a rapid turn. “Once it started trending, I knew automatically that the political and business class would be upset,” he said. Within hours of publication, the State House, the President’s official residency, was on the phone, he said, asking: “Why is the Nation declaring war against the President on the first day of the year?”
Mr Galava was officially sacked for not following correct procedure. He is contesting his dismissal, claiming such formal procedures did not exist.
Morale at the Daily Nation plummeted amid reports of a “hit list” of undesirable reporters and editors reportedly supplied to the Aga Khan at State House in December. Three journalists were made redundant this month in a sudden move that took their superiors by surprise. They included the Sunday Nation’s news editor and the investigations editor.
Insiders privately suggest that coverage of massive corruption scandals, including allegations by the opposition that $1bn (£690m) raised by a eurobond sale remains unaccounted for, hit too close to home. Mr Galava’s affidavit purportedly includes emails from Mr Mshindi, the editor-in-chief, urging reporters to “go slow” on sensitive stories.
“The reality is that all media is under a lot of pressure from the government,” said Joseph Odindo, a former Daily Nation editor and now editor-in-chief at The Standard, owned by the family of the former president Daniel arap Moi. “There is arm-twisting, indirect pressure… on content and editorial decisions,” Mr Odindo said
Mr Mshindi said of his decision to sack Gado that “no contract is everlasting.” Accusations that management was caving in to government pressure were, he said, unfounded. “We have a very strong reputation of independence,” he said. Nevertheless, the Daily Nation is facing threats to a reputation built on coverage of events such as the state’s ruthless suppression of the pro-democracy Saba Saba riots in 1990, despite pressure from the Aga Khan’s representative to pull stories. That opened the floodgates for the critical coverage that helped usher in multiparty democracy.
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Under Mwai Kibaki, President between 2002 and 2013, Kenya’s media independence flourished, but freedoms were threatened anew when Mr Kenyatta took power in 2013.
Mr Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s first post-independence leader, has had a combative relationship with the press, his alleged role in the 2007-08 post-election violence defining his candidacy. When an article displeases him, he is alleged to thump his desk with a fist and dispatch aides to harangue the writer.
“It’s a government that is really, really sensitive to critical reporting, and it doesn’t hesitate to put on the screws,” said Patrick Gathara, a cartoonist and commentator.
The government has attempted to push through draconian press and security laws, with the most anti-democratic provisions already struck out by the Supreme Court. Critical bloggers face harassment and detention.
How the Daily Nation responds to its current crisis, Mr Gathara said, will prove critical as elections approach. “More government interference is inevitable. The practice is now established,” he said. “If they can go after the Nation, they can go after anyone.”
Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:08 am Post subject: Integrity of The Nation and other Aga Khan newspapers
The Nation is a strong newspaper. It would not let its reputation be blackened by some irrational act of "Sacking" staff.
I read this "sacking" matter few days ago. Why do they call it "sacking" when they themselves accept that Gado's contract came to term and was simply not renewed.
I used to laugh when looking at Gado's caricatures but after sometimes got tired of it. I am not surprised his contract was not renewed. I am sure people need some changes and a new caricaturist would be welcome at this point.
The sister company has had major disagreements with the Museveni government over its articles it published but that has not ended in "sacking" anyone. The integrity of the Aga Khan's newspaper is well known so much as the journalists are independent, even from taking instructions of the shareholders.
The quality of reporting, though not perfect, has made the Nation, number one newspaper in the region. The only reason being the confidence of the public in the accuracy and historical integrity of the news in The Nation.
New COLORMAN e:line premium newspaper printing system goes into operation in Kenya
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
Press release from the issuing company
The future-oriented newspaper printer Nation Media Group in Nairobi is convinced of the promising potential of the African newspaper industry and therefore decided to invest in a manroland web systems COLORMAN e:line at the end of 2013.
On March 17, 2016, the inauguration celebration for the printhouse building was held, which was constructed on the existing printing grounds on Mombasa Road especially for the new, ultra-innovative COLORMAN e:line.
New milestone for The Nation, Nairobi
Fifty-six years ago, His Highness The Aga Khan founded the Nation Media Group (NMG), the largest independent media company in East and Central Africa. Since then, the company has aimed to provide citizens with serious, reliable information allowing them to form their own opinions. His Highness The Aga Khan also emphasized the associated corporate policy in his speech at the inauguration, which he personally attended. For him and his company, the new manroland web systems newspaper printing system going into operation represents a special milestone. Every day, the Nation Media Group prints thousands of copies of the Daily Nation, Business Daily, and the Taifa Leo, as well as the weekly The EastAfrican. In the future, they will all be produced using the new COLORMAN e:line.
Inauguration celebration for the printshop on Mombasa Road
On Thursday, March 17, 2016, the event celebrating the new COLORMAN e:line was held on the Nation Media printing grounds. In the presence of His Highness The Aga Khan, the newspaper printing system was officially put into operation. High-ranking individuals from politics, including Dr. Alfred Mutua, Governor of Machakos County, and Nation Media Group CEO Joe Muganda as well as the Chairman of the Board Wilfred Kiboro were all present. manroland web systems was represented by project manager Dr. Ralf Schädlich as well as Wolfgang Hiesinger, project manager for newspaper printing systems, who both arrived from Germany. The entire event was broadcast on African television, including live interviews. In addition to a speech by His Highness The Aga Khan, the event was accompanied by different lectures. The highlight of the supporting program was the start-up of the COLORMAN e:line, initiated by His Highness The Aga Khan on the state-of-the-art manroland web systems control console.
The COLORMAN e:line – a technological marvel
The new newspaper printing system can print up to 86,000 newspaper issues an hour, making it the fastest of its class. At the same time, the COLORMAN e:line in a 4-1 configuration convinces with top printing quality, outstanding automation, and a high degree of flexibility. “This is what we call future-proof,” states Wolfgang Hiesinger from manroland web systems. Gideon Aswani, Production Director at NMG, underscored the production time, reduced by a tremendous 65%, as a major advantage of the COLORMAN e:line. For Nation Media, this means being able to produce the same print run in two and a half hours, a venture that would have taken six hours before. Furthermore, the company has managed significant reductions in waste, saving them up to eight million Kenyan shilling annually. Nation Media is especially proud of the newly purchased and exclusive functionalities offered by the COLORMAN e:line, including the production of special advertising formats such as booklets, super panoramas, Flying Pages, half covers, and oversized advertising spaces. This unique selling point also reinforces the excellent market position of the Nation Media Group in the African newspaper industry. With this support, a significant increase in the print run has already been achieved since the COLORMAN e:line went into operation. His Highness The Aga Khan has given special recognition to the COLORMAN e:line, referring to it as a “technological marvel”.
A glimpse into the future
Today, Nation Media is already considering expanding its newspaper printing system to include a sixth printing tower to exhaust the space available in the newly erected printhouse building and increase productivity. In addition, last year, NMG concluded a ten-year service contract with manroland web systems, which includes employee training, process optimization, maintenance, and possible repairs, among other key features. Both companies expect a long, successful business relationship.
Letters and Photographs of His Highness the Aga Khan from the Family Archives of the Late Mr. Frank Pattrick
Ms. Baxter lovingly wrote about her uncle, Mr. Pattrick, as follows:
“After the war, Frank moved to Cape Town and his interest in printing meant a directorship in that business for many years before he returned to Southend-on-Sea (in Essex, England). He took up a job as a compositor with a local newspaper before emigrating to East Africa. Frank left England to take up a position with the Nation Newspaper in Nairobi. I believe he was a production manager and retired as Chairman for a company owned by the Aga Khan with whom he kept in touch until he died .
Kenya: East Africa’s biggest independent publisher battered by job cuts and political pressure
Njeri Kimani Africa 27 Jul 2016 12:16 (South Africa)
Nation Media Group is the largest independent publisher and broadcaster in East Africa, but all is not well at this icon of free media in Africa, which is struggling to stay in business and to remain independent while doing so. By NJERI KIMANI.
In recent weeks, Nation Media Group – one of the largest players in the media sphere in Kenya and East Africa – has gone on a firing spree, with more than 200 journalists losing their jobs.
Founded in 1959 by the Aga Khan, even his deep pockets are struggling to keep the media house afloat in the digital era. On 30 June, management ruthlessly shut down Nation FM, QFM and Rwanda FM, and merged its QTV Swahili Station with NTV, sending workers home.
In a statement, the group claimed that this would rationalise its broadcasting division, helping it to secure an increasingly fragile business position.
In the last two years, the company has fired more than 300 correspondents from its satellite bureaus including Nakuru, Kiambu and Mombasa. It is now heavily relying on interns, engaged for three months at a time, to supply news content.
It is also pushing a convergence model across its publications, where outlets share reporters and editors. More than 10 reporters have subsequently quit.
In another sign of rising cost pressures, NTV’s YouTube channel was recently suspended following repeated allegations of copyright infringement.
“NTV Kenya has been terminated because we received multiple third-party claims of copyright infringement regarding material the user posted,” YouTube said in a statement posted on the blocked channel.
Another blunder came in May, when a dummy version of the East African – the biggest regional paper – was published by mistake. On the front page, only the headlines were right, while the rest was just placeholder text. The humiliating mistake was blamed on under-staffing.
Eric Odour, the Secretary-General of the Kenya Union of Journalists, refutes claims that the company is struggling:
“We have been following up with the dismissal of the journalist and many were given the one month notice as is required by law. We were also able to negotiate with the company on the retirement package for the ones who were our members and many went home satisfied,” he said.
Odour claims that the company is now stronger than before as the restructuring is helping it retain the best of its talent.
But Nation Media Group’s woes are not limited to the economic milieu. With free media coming under increased pressure in Kenya, the group has been accused of bowing to political influence.
Last year, the company fired popular Kenyan political cartoonist Godfrey Mwapembwa, popularly known as Gado, after 23 years with the group.
“They had always supported me despite some complaints from public officials. However, when the current President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto came to power in 2013, things changed. However, I cannot single out a caricature which led to my dismissal,” said Gado.
He had often portrayed the two statesmen with balls and chains attached to their ankles, a practice which his editors advised him to discontinue.
This January, another major scalp: Daily Nation editor Denis Galava was suspended and then sacked, allegedly for failing to follow due procedure in penning an editorial. But it just so happened that this editorial was critical of President Kenyatta, and Galava was under no doubt whatsoever that this was the real reason for his dismissal.
“My view is that the editor is taking instructions from State House [the seat of the president], and is now hiding behind procedure,” Galava told the Daily Maverick at the time.
Galava is now suing the Nation Media Group company for 425-million Kenyan shillings (R60-million).
A current Nation Media Group employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Daily Maverick that it has become taboo to criticise the government.
“Immediately after, anyone who criticised the county or national government became earmarked for sacking, with the company claiming that they are redundant. In reality they are sacking the most outspoken and greatest critics of the jubilee administration.” DM
Summary: When we asked Nairobi’s Tazmin Jamal to write a short piece about the Nation Media, which was founded in the late 1950’s by His Highness the Aga Khan, she went the extra step to interview a key staff member at the newspaper’s head offices in Nairobi as well as approached numerous Nation readers to give their views on their favourite newspaper. We sincerely thank Tazmin for her great effort and enthusiasm. Her informative piece appears below under 3 sub-titles. — Ed.
65 participants of Global Encounters program tour NMG plant
65 participants of the Global Encounters program toured the New Nation Media Group Printing Press along Mombasa Road facilitated by several Aga Khan Development Network agencies as part of their learning experience in Kenya.
The Nation Media Group (NMG) management has finally spoken about reports of the company being targeted for acquisition by the Kenyatta family. Speaking today at a staff communication meeting held at Nation Centre, acting CEO Stephen Gitagama said there were no plans by shareholders to sell off NMG, Kenya’s leading media house.
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