The Kenyan government on early Thursday shut down one major privately-owned television and newspaper group over alleged fabricated news story of political intrigue.
Eye witnesses said hooded police raided the headquarters and printing plant of the Standard Newspapers Group, which also owns the Kenya Television Network (KTN), burnt copies of the newspaper and shut down the media group's 24-hours television station.
The police seized computer keyboards and electronic units controlling the security systems and slashed through electricity cables supplying power to the system, bringing the operations at the media group to a halt.
"After storming into the offices, the police then split up into small teams with different groups targeting different floors housing KTN and Standard Newspapers. They disconnected power lines from the KTN studio, taking the station off the air," said one employee at the building.
The raids followed a running dispute between the media house and the government over a story in the Saturday Standard alleging President Mwai Kibaki had held a secret meeting with one of his fiercest critics, former cabinet minister Kalonzo Musyoka.
Kenyan police are holding three journalists working for the media group over the story titled "Kalonzo, Kibaki in secret meeting."
Musyoka was one of several cabinet ministers fired from their positions after they campaigned against Kibaki's controversial draft constitution, which was defeated in a referendum last November.
The Standard reported that "the former minister is said to have expressed a readiness to rejoin the government and take the vice president's slot," and called the meeting "one of the most sophisticated political maneuvers by the president yet."
Musyoka and the government have issued denials after the story was published, and Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua followed up with a statement calling for the reporters and editor to be punished.