President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law a bill that criminalizes abuse on social media and the spread of false information. This bill will deal with any cyber crimes. Although the media has criticized this law as bad for the Jamhuri, it is necessary if we in the media are going to be held responsible for posts that go against what is true. Although there is a down turn to this argument given the need to define truth, the advance in technology and cyber communication requires some government regulation. As a media person, I would have preferred that we in the media regulate ourselves accordingly. However, there is a culture within Kenya media houses that leans more towards creating anarchy. Therefore, we in the media need to develop a network of accountability so that we can together show ourselves to be worth the title of the ‘fourth estate’.
The bill allows for a fine of up to $50,000, two years of jail time, or both, to be imposed on any person who intentionally publishes false information. According to a statement posted on the president’s official website on Wednesday, this law, “provides for timely and effective detection, prohibition, prevention, response, investigation and prosecution of computer and cybercrimes.”(It is called the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act 2018).
Though I am a strong advocate for media freedom, the media should not be an arbiter of political discourse, but a disseminator of verifiable facts: TRUTH
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (Ph.D.)
Diaspora Messenger senior columnist