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Friday, 10 December, 1999, 13:23 GMT
Nairobi awaits independent TV launch

Warming up for the launch of Nation TV


A new commercial televison station is being launched in Kenya on Friday.

Nation TV, part of the Nation Media Group, says it will be Kenya's "first TV station specially for the people", offering locally produced drama serials and comedies as well as news and current affairs.



We are keeping our promise in time for Christmas
Nation TV spokesman Dennis Kashero
After Vice-President Prof George Saitoti presses the button to put the new station on air, the first programmes will be transmitted live on giant screens across Nairobi as part of the launch festivities.

Nation TV will initially be available only in the Kenyan capital and surrounding area.

There is speculation that it could break the mould of television in Kenya by becoming the first station not to automatically support the policies of President Moi and his ruling Kanu party.

Gideon Muoka, the Nation group's head of television, said on Thursday: "For the first time, Kenyans will be able to ask opinion makers, leaders, questions that affect their lifestyle."

Different from rivals

Nation Television will be Kenya's sixth domestic TV station.

Of the two commercial stations which broadcast news, one - Citizen TV - is owned by Samuel Macharia, a Kanu member.

The other - Kenya Television Network - is a subsidiary of The Standard Newspapers Group, in which Lonrho Plc has a controlling interest. Businessman linked to the ruling party are said to own significant shareholdings.

It took the Nation Group- whose principal shareholder is the Aga Khan - eight years to gain official approval to expand from print media into radio and television broadcasting.

It still aspires to operate a nationwide radio and television service.

In addition to radio and TV licences and frequencies for Nairobi, the Nation Group also holds radio licences for Kisumu, Nakuru and Mombasa.

According to the group's chief executive, WD Kiboro, its editorial policy includes strong support for "those human rights which have come to be seen as part and parcel of a modern democratic society".

Launching Nation FM radio in Nairobi in October, Mr Kiboro pledged it would "vigorously support the interests of the Kenyan people, and the interests of the underprivileged and disadvantaged groups, and will work tirelessly to combat injustice and misgovernance without fear or favour".

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23 Nov 99 |  Africa
Moi confronts corruption critics

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