Many countries across the world have had their administration enforce some policies to guard against abuse of social media. Some African states, for instance, usually shut off access to these platforms, and some go as far as cutting access to internet services.
These actions precede major events such as national polls. Other countries such as China have replicated global social media apps, and discourage the use of the majority of services that the rest of the world enjoys.
In Kenya, we have been lucky enough because people continue to enjoy all social media apps even in a situation we expected that the government was going to restrict access, mainly in the last general elections in 2017.
However, this does not mean that there haven’t been talks about the policing of the platforms, admittedly because the people behind the push argue that users stretch their freedom of expression for character assassination, and what has been termed as ‘moral decay’ among some users that are soiling the nation’s mostly strong Christian values.
It has also been argued that the freedom of expression was so impactful that even the President saw his social media pages deleted because they could not stand the heat from disgruntled Kenyans.
To this end, the Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) is pushing for legislation to police the use of social media. This announcement was made by KFCB’s CEO Ezekiel Mutua who has, for some time now, been Kenya’s moral and ethics enforcer through his numerous spats and decisions that have seen some content such as music videos banned from distribution on platforms such as YouTube because he found them morally degrading.
According to KBC, Ezekiel says that social media is a threat to the nation’s morals and has negatively affected young people. The KFCB boss says he will support a program that will call for the distribution of ‘clean’ content and artists who will create materials that enforce admirable moral values.
Furthermore, Mutua has requested Parliament to consider exploring a bill that will regulate the use of social media platforms in a manner that will not undermine the freedom of expression.
Currently, Parliament is examining a legislation named the Kenya Information and Communication (Amendment) Bill 2019 that calls for the registration of blogs by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), as well as group administrators in chat and social media apps.
Uganda introduced social media tax to police the use of the platforms, a move that grew unpopular among its citizens.