President Mwai Kibaki has signed into law a controversial media bill that could lead to a significant reduction of press freedom in Kenya. Among other things, the Kenyan Communications Amendment Bill authorises the Kenyan authorities to raid media offices, tap phones and control broadcast content on grounds of national security. It also bans any one media organisation from operating both press publications and broadcasting facilities. This provision affects many organisations, including market leaders the Nation Media Group and the Standard Group.
Press freedom has been in the spotlight in Kenya since 2006, when the internal security minister ordered a raid on newspaper offices and a television station owned by the Standard Group following the publication of a series of articles criticising the government of its handling of corruption scandals. More recently, following the disputed presidential elections of December 2007, the government tried to discontinue live radio and television broadcasts especially by then opposition leader Raila Odinga. On both occasions the measures were met with public outcry inside and outside the country.