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Kenyan Media Bill Prompts Journalistic Uproar

Kenyan police have arrested several journalists and activists who were protesting a new media bill passed by parliament that would impose strict controls on the press.

Reports from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, say the police broke up Friday's protest, which took place shortly before President Mwai Kibaki was scheduled to speak at a celebration marking Kenya's independence day.

The media bill was passed Wednesday and has been sent to President Kibaki for his signature. The measure would set heavy fines and prison sentences for perceived press offenses, would allow government ministers to dictate content on broadcast media and would allow the seizure of equipment.

Kenyan and international media advocacy groups are urging Mr. Kibaki not to sign the bill. The chairman of the Kenya Media Council, Wachira Waruru, called the measure a blow against freedom of the press.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.