The BBC reports that masked gunmen believed to be police have stormed one of Kenyas major media groups, disabling printing presses and shutting its TV station.

Thousands of copies of The Standard - Kenyas oldest newspaper - were burned during the early hours raid.

Although the Kenyan government denies any knowledge of the raid, the attacks were preceded by threats directed against the Standard from government representatives. Three Standard journalists are still being held without charge following a story critical of President Mwai Kibakis handling of recent corruption scandals.

Hooded men carrying AK47s raided the headquarters of the Standard group in the capital, Nairobi, just after midnight.

Staff were kicked and beaten and forced to lie on the floors as offices were searched and equipment taken away, the Standard newspaper said on its website.

They kicked us as we went down, they frisked our pockets and took our belongings, one member of staff said.

A similar raid was carried out around an hour later at the groups newspaper presses in the capitals industrial area.

Thousands of copies of Thursdays edition of the newspaper were dragged out into the yard and set on fire.

Meanwhile, another group of masked men went to the offices of the independent Kenya Television Network (KTN), a sister to the Standard.

The station was off air until 1100GMT, and men carried away computers and transmission equipment, and detained four staff members.

KTN managing editor, Farida Karoney, said four workers were taken to the central police station for a two-hour interrogation.

Update: The Kenyan government has now confirmed it ordered police to raid the offices of a newspaper and its sister TV station.