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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 11:52 GMT
Press fury at Kenya police raid
African press

Kenyan press commentators do not mince their words over the raid by armed police on the offices of the Standard newspaper, accusing the government of undermining the foundations of press freedom in the country.

One commentator says the events show "how low we have sunk", another laments "our government has gone berserk", and most fear more raids in the future.

There is similar concern in neighbouring Uganda, with an editorial equating the raids to a "battering of democracy".

KENYA'S THE STANDARD

The commando-like raid in thick of the night by balaclava-clad policemen clutching assault rifles was an extraordinary act of aggression against press freedom... The raid had little to do with perceived grievances over a specific incident, but everything to do with a dangerous intolerance in government that, in all probability, relates directly to the increasing media focus on the role of some of its senior members in graft.

KIPKOECH TANUI IN KENYA'S THE STANDARD

I always thought it takes years to join the league of Comrade Robert Mugabe, but now I know better. Images of the bonfire the police made out of a paper we struggled to produce... shows how low we have sunk and how we have lost the dream of a new beginning.

KENYA TIMES

Shocking as it appears, the raid on the media does not come as a complete surprise given the historical record of the clique now ruling Kenya. Reluctant democrats and tribalists, they have systematically sought to impose a certain conformity on Kenya.

JERRY OKUNGU IN KENYA TIMES

What happened at the offices of the Standard Media Group... was as despicable as it was obnoxious. Let Kenyans resolve that whoever was responsible for this shameful and destructive act, whoever they are or may be, must be brought to book! The fact still remains that whoever was the mastermind is not yet over and done with us. They may be planning other raids in other media houses... Our government has gone berserk.

KENYA'S THE NATION

National Security Minister John Michuki shocked Kenyans yesterday when he arrogantly admitted the government was responsible for state-sponsored terror against The Standard Group, ascribing it to 'national security'... This was not a security operation, this was a feudal case of state terrorism.

KENYA'S PEOPLE DAILY

The emotional and violent reactions by Kenyans to the night attack on The Standard and KTN... is understandable. The violence that was witnessed yesterday was unique in its barbarity... God forbid, Kenyans have a reason to fear that the attack on the Standard Group could be a precursor to the return of the bad old days.

UGANDA'S DAILY MONITOR

The raid should be condemned as a cowardly infringement on the rights of journalists and a battering of democracy. It shows the lowest depths to which President Mwai Kibaki's floundering regime is determined to sink as his tattered political coalition gets hammered over graft and shadowy deals... Ugandans must condemn this assault of media freedom in a country we are supposed to federate with in a few years' time.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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