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Visions of the African Press in Colonial Kenya: What the Nationalists Imagined
Unformatted Document Text:  17 Less noted in this consciousness raising were the publications put out by the growing trade union movement. Mboya and others in the unions sought to publicize that movement, reserving a page for trade union news in each issue of Habari za Dunai, a paper he was helping run. When it closed down, the trade unions funded a monthly newssheet in Swahili, which was distributed among unionists, and a fortnightly newsletter in English began to be circulated not only within the movement but also among selected people in politics, government, pressure groups and media institutions at home and abroad. Resistance & civil disobedience In many cases, the editors who produced these newspapers saw that in order to carry out their mission - disseminating political information and criticism - they would have to be willing to be arrested, charged and perhaps even jailed. While at first editors believed that the government simply "wanted to discourage African journalism, and especially political journalism," they later took a more virulent attitude toward colonial harassment. 52 In addition to passing laws that would make criticism of the government subversive, the colonial government attempted to stamp out the papers by making the very act of printing them punishable as a seditious offense. This measure was intended to discourage Asian printers from helping the African papers. Most Asians responded as the colonialists hoped, refusing to print African periodicals or charging exorbitant rates and insisting on editing material to eliminate anything questionable items. While editors and their publishers were arrested, fined and sometimes jailed in the early 1950s, more recent examinations of the papers considered seditious have found that many of the papers often were much less aggressive than previously believed. 53 While "this press did present anti-government and anti-European material, some of it clearly 52 Ibid 84. 53 Scotton 30.

Authors: Wall, Melissa.
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17
Less noted in this consciousness raising were the publications put out by the
growing trade union movement. Mboya and others in the unions sought to publicize that
movement, reserving a page for trade union news in each issue of Habari za Dunai, a
paper he was helping run. When it closed down, the trade unions funded a monthly
newssheet in Swahili, which was distributed among unionists, and a fortnightly
newsletter in English began to be circulated not only within the movement but also
among selected people in politics, government, pressure groups and media institutions at
home and abroad.
Resistance & civil disobedience
In many cases, the editors who produced these newspapers saw that in order to
carry out their mission - disseminating political information and criticism - they would
have to be willing to be arrested, charged and perhaps even jailed. While at first editors
believed that the government simply "wanted to discourage African journalism, and
especially political journalism," they later took a more virulent attitude toward colonial
harassment.
52
In addition to passing laws that would make criticism of the government
subversive, the colonial government attempted to stamp out the papers by making the
very act of printing them punishable as a seditious offense. This measure was intended to
discourage Asian printers from helping the African papers. Most Asians responded as the
colonialists hoped, refusing to print African periodicals or charging exorbitant rates and
insisting on editing material to eliminate anything questionable items.
While editors and their publishers were arrested, fined and sometimes jailed in the
early 1950s, more recent examinations of the papers considered seditious have found that
many of the papers often were much less aggressive than previously believed.
53
While
"this press did present anti-government and anti-European material, some of it clearly
52
Ibid 84.
53
Scotton 30.


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