What you need to know about the new bill signed into law by the President and what the media and Kenyans have to say about it.
The Computer and Cybercrimes Law was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta on 16th of May 2018. The media and social sharing sites have not stopped talking since. Several media houses and Kenyan press authorities have had choice words for his decision. Since then communication has been on a mass scale and opinion has been sporadic with largely negative comments. The law criminalizes fake news and cyberbullying among other things. The media has been quick to say it stifles their freedom on news reporting.
The law allows for criminal charges to be brought against people who have been established of intentionally publishing false, fictitious or misleading data’. Morris Odhiambo, Regional Project director for East and Horn of Africa Freedom House has criticized the move as a step backward media freedom and online expression by overstepping its bounds by becoming an arbiter of truth on the internet. This news comes only a few months after three big media houses namely; KTN, NTV, and Citizen. They were temporarily shut down for airing the ‘swearing in’ of the opposition leader Raila Odinga’s swearing in as the people’s president.
Media houses and the Media Council of Kenya have seen the move as a choice to limit instead of protecting the freedoms of the press. The law has been described as faulty and unclear in describing criminal offenses. Limiting to developers of digital application and content. The law has also limited the liberty to access information of the ordinary citizens. Kenya has previously been rated as Partly Free in Freedom in the World in 2018, Partly Free in Freedom of the press in 2017 and Free in Freedom on the internet in 2017.