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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Kenya to censor porn
Kenyan parliament
Parliament will decide what is pornographic and what is not
A censorship board has been set up in Kenya to deal with what the government says is a "flood" of pornography in the country's electronic and print media.

The board is supposed to regulate material coming out of these establishments. and closely monitor imported material.

A spokesman for the ministry of information and tourism, Willis Ondiek, told BBC News Online that the ministry was responding to complaints, especially from religious leaders.

Mr Ondiek said that the leaders had complained about pornographic magazines along the streets of Kenya's main towns.

The content of some magazines sold on the streets is harmful to our children and society in general
Raphael Tuju
Information and Tourism Minister
He denied that the decision was a veiled attempt to curb the free flow of information in the country.

"We are not returning the country to those dark days of censorship. All we are asking is for the media houses to be more responsible," said Mr Ondiek.

'Morally wrong'

In the 1970s and 1980s several printing presses associated with government opponents were set on fire for publishing material that was regarded as out of line with the official government view.

Launching the censorship board on Tuesday, Information and Tourism Minister Raphael Tuju said there must be defined parameters on what media houses can publish.

"What is aired is sometimes morally wrong, while the content of some magazines sold on the streets is harmful to our children and society in general," he said.

The ministry will publish a bill spelling out what is regarded as pornographic and what is not.

In the meantime the 12-member censorship board has been mandated to seek the views of Kenyans on the issue and compile a list of what they feel is unsuitable for publishing.

Kenya media face new curbs
10 May 02  |  Africa
Country profile: Kenya
17 Jun 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Kenya
07 May 03  |  Country profiles

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