The article addresses African and Indian newspaper networks in Kenya in the late 1940s in an Indian Ocean perspective. Newspapers were important parts of a printing culture that was sustained by Indian and African nationalist politics and economic enterprise. In this period new intermediary groups of African and Indian entrepreneurs, activists and publicists, collaborating around newspaper production, captured fairly large and significant non-European audiences (some papers had print runs of around ten thousand) and engaged them in new ways, incorporating their aspirations, writings and points of view in newspapers. They depended on voluntary and political associations and anti-colonial struggles in Kenya and on links to nationalists in India and the passive resistance movement in South Africa. They sidestepped the European-dominated print culture and created an anti-colonial counter-voice. Editors insisted on the right to write freely and be heard, and traditions of freedom of speech put a brake on censorship. Furthermore, the shifting networks of financial, editorial and journalistic collaboration, and the newspapers' language choice — African vernaculars, Gujarati, Swahili and English — made intervention difficult for the authorities. With time, the politics and ideologies sustaining the newspapers pulled in different directions, with African nationalism gaining the upper hand among the forces that shaped the future independent Kenyan nation.