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Nation Media Group celebrates 50 years

Sunday March 14 2010

University students perusing their Daily Nation newspapers. Photo/FILE

University students perusing their Daily Nation newspapers. Photo/FILE 

By NATION Reporter

When the Aga Khan decided to start a newspaper in Kenya 50 years ago, his vision was to print an independent and honest publication that would help nurture an emerging democracy.

It was 1960 and the wind of change was blowing across Africa, with many of its countries just breaking free from the shackles of colonialism.

Media house

Over the past 50 years, the history of the Kenyan nation is inextricably intertwined with that of the Nation Media Group, whose story starts with the acquisition of Kiswahili publication Taifa Leo in 1959.

The Sunday Nation was launched in March, 1960 and the Daily Nation followed in October the same year.

Thus, the Harvard-educated Aga Khan started what would, in half a century, become the largest media house in East and Central Africa.

This week, NMG celebrates that success with the launch of a book, Birth of a Nation, authored by Gerry Loughran, an accomplished journalist who was an editor at Nation for 12 years and whose career took him to far-flung cities like Beirut and New York.

The 319 page-turner will be launched on Thursday as part of celebrations to mark the group’s golden jubilee.

NMG will this week host a series of activities whose centrepiece is the Pan African Media Conference on Thursday and Friday at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

President Kibaki will officially open the conference, expected to bring together more than 1,000 people, including media professionals and scholars, under the theme Media and the African Promise.