Ezekiel Mutua Backs Government Plans for Porn Ban

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During the airing of the CIO Awards 2018 that were staged in Naivasha, the Ministry of ICT through its head, Mr Joe Mucheru, mentioned that the government was planning to crack down on internet pornography, which, if enforced, would mean forcing internet service providers to set filters by default. And what is the goal of porn filters? Well, people who are rallying behind the censorship are saying that underage pregnancies are partly associated with unfettered access to adult content on the Internet.

We are not sure if the government has developed a mechanism to ban access to pornography to the target group (and not adults who can have the right to get access to any sites they want on the web) and not pornography as a whole. In fact, it is quite clear that it is challenging to find the appropriate mechanism and technology to enforce the ban for teens. Despite the fact that authorities are considering taking action to block porn sites as reiterated by KFCB’s CEO Ezekiel Mutua who insisted that the government will not tolerate any material that will soil the moral fabric that holds Kenya’s young population together, it is not technically feasible for relevant institutions as majority of the target sites are not under Kenya’s jurisdiction.

People who know their way around the internet will tell you that blocking these sites will be technically challenging. Besides, there are several bottlenecks beyond government control such as jurisdiction over foreign adult content providers, control over foreign ISPs and unavailability of modern techniques that can distinguish between pornographic content across different services, some of which may not even be blocked.

KFCB’s support for the ban argues that online porn should be entirely banned as it is responsible for declining values in children. Of course, there is no doubt that these sites may strike curiosity in young people to go out and engage in activities that are beyond their age bracket. These unrealistic and artificial manifestations often pressure victims (people below 18 years of age) to consent to acts that may genuinely have negative physiological and mental health consequences.

It is a challenge for the government to take a stand in this issue. Even though the state believes that pornography should be censored, it would be difficult for it to stand with it, considering the definitions of the rights and freedoms of expression, as some may see it as the state’s model for controlled web filters for Kenyans.

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