Pressing Interests: The Agenda and Influence of a Colonial East African Newspaper Sector


In the twentieth century, when much of present-day Kenya was controlled by the British Empire, many secular newspapers emerged as the products of tensions between Asian and European immigrants, the British administration, and the African petite bourgeoisie. In Pressing Interests, Phoebe Musandu shows how these periodicals served as powerful tools for the colonial government and elite to shape political and economic conditions in their favour. Following the development of the most important newspapers established in colonial Kenya as they evolved to reflect the priorities and ambitions of their owners, investors, publishers, journalists, and editors, the book explores the roles and contributions of the press in the country’s political and economic history. Shedding light on newspapers as business ventures, Phoebe Musandu focuses on the management, financial, and production aspects of media. She further examines the press as a medium for inter- and intra-racial competition for power and influence, a base for knowledge production, and as an instrument for social control. In an era when we are often reminded of the power inherent in the ability to generate and disseminate information, Pressing Interests tells the story of colonial Kenya’s press, through a mix of riveting accounts and careful analysis.

Phoebe Musandu