Back in August before the General Election, the Communications Authority of Kenya assured Kenyans that they won’t shut down the Internet during the elections. However, they said that they will shut down websites that spread hate speech.
We are nearing the repeat election that was issued by the Supreme Court in Kenya and there is still a lot of discussion about it orally between people and in social networking platforms that Kenyans have signed up to.
Now the Communications Authority of Kenya CA) and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) have issued a joint statement regarding misuse of social media platforms during the election period.
“As the 26th October 2017 repeat Presidential election approaches, the attention of the two agencies has been drawn to the misuse of electronic communications networks, particularly the social media platforms to propagate hate speech and other undesirable content.” They said. “Hate messages have the potential to polarize the country along tribal lines, and to perpetuate fear and hate among Kenyans. CA and NCIC consider this kind of content irresponsible and injurious to peace, particularly in view of the impending elections.”
CA and NCIC have now urged bloggers, online news sites, political followers to exercise discretion during this period. They have also cautioned website and blog site admins by urging them to take extra caution to authenticate and validate source of content prior to publishing which might mislead or incite people to violence.
They have urged broadcasters to manage their social sites responsibly so that they avoid posting “divisive and undesirable user generated content in line with provisions of the Programming Code.”
If institutions and people do not follow these rules, CA and NCIC says that they will be held accountable. They have said that Administrators of social media platforms will be held liable for any hate speech posts allowed in their forums.
Also any person who contravenes Section 13 and Section 62 of the NCI Act 2008 will be liable to a fine of KES 1 million or imprisonment of 3 years and a fine of KES 1 million or imprisonment of five years or both respectively.