A man has been arrested in Kenya for publishing false information about the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), 23-year-old Elijah Muthui Kitonyo was arrested in Mwingi for “publishing misleading and alarming information on coronavirus.”
Elijah Muthui Kitonyo aged 23 years has been arrested in Mwingi for publishing misleading and alarming information on Corona virus.
He will be charged for publishing false information that is calculated or results in panic contrary to section 23 of the Computer Misuse…
— DCI KENYA (@DCI_Kenya) March 15, 2020
Thanks to his actions, DCI says that he will be charged for publishing false information that is calculated or results in panic contrary to section 23 of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act of 2018.
Section 23 of the Act says that “A person who knowingly publishes information that is false in print, broadcast, data over a computer system, that is calculated or results in panic, chaos, or violence among citizens of the Republic, or which is likely to discredit the reputation of a person commits an offence.”
This charge means that he is liable to a fine not exceeding Kshs 5 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.
The Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act was suspended for a while due to controversial sections but roughly a month ago, it was declared constitutional.
This is the first time we have seen the government use the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act to crack down on people on social media who send fake news. The Act carries stiff penalties so it will be wise not to publish anything on social media that is fake or will cause panic during the coronavirus outbreak since the government is watching and is waiting to prosecute.