A.36 -

Daily Nation

HL Kenyan Parliament bars newspaper group

DD 06/30/89


Edition: CITY


Page: 12A

Origin: NAIROBI, Kenya

LP NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya's leading newspaper group has been barred indefinitely from covering Parliament on the grounds that it is anti-government, subversive and tribalistic.

TX Deputy Speaker Kalonzo Musyoka, who proposed Wednesday's motion against the Nation Group, cited its relationship with the St. Petersburg Times as one reason for the banning. ``Some journalists have been trained there on how to subvert their nation,`` said Musyoka. Some current and former Nation staffers worked at the Times under an exchange program. Mike Foley, managing editor of the Times, called the allegation of subversion ``ridiculous.`` ``Our relationship with the Nation included a professional exchange of newspaper staffers from several departments - advertising, production, circulation and personnel - as well as journalists,`` Foley said. ``We saw it as a way of trading professional information, sharing experiences and learning about each other's countries. ``I'm saddened that the Kenyan government has decided to use this as an excuse for censorship.`` The exchange program has not been active for the past two years. There was no comment from the Nation Group, which is owned by the * Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismailia Moslem sect. The group includes three Swahili-language newspapers and two English-language newspapers including the Daily Nation, with a circulation of about a quarter-million daily. The Daily Nation bore the brunt of Parliament's ire and was accused of ``twisting facts,`` abusing freedom of speech, subversion and undermining the ruling party and parliamentarians. The tabloid carried an extensive account of the debate in Thursday's editions but offered no editorial comment. ``The Daily Nation has continued to play the role of a divider,`` said Elijah Mwangale, minister for livestock development. ``We should censor it as an example to other newspapers so that they play their correct role.`` Musyoka cited ``cynical and witty`` stories whose ``sole purpose was to cause disunity`` and divisiveness and an article that portrayed the House as having lost its freedom to debate openly and freely. Members of Parliament also accused the Daily Nation of tribalism. ``Daily Nation has a racialistic attitude due to its ownership,`` said Johnstone Makau, a minister for state. ``It is out to safeguard their community and another tribe.`` @Art: Associated Press

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