Yesterday the Amnesty International, a human rights group went before the National Assembly to resist attempts to have WhatsAPP Group admins apply for a license. There is more.
The amendments to the Kenya Information & Communication Bill sees to gag social media more.
Remember that a few months ago, blogger Cyprian Nyakundi won the first round in such a battle. Justice Wilfrida Okwany ruled that Section 84 (d) of the Act is vague and broad, making it difficult for an accused person to defend themselves. Simply unconstitutional.
The section 84 (d) of the Kenya Information Communication Act, prohibited publication of obscene information electronically. Blogger Nyakundi has been taken to court by Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Nairobi Governor Mike ‘the Kevese’ Sonko
That section is being sneaked back: it stated:
“Any person who publishes or transmits or causes to be published in electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest and its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied therein, shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding two hundred thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both”.
Now, the Government of Kenya which is increasingly becoming like a Nazi government, has decided that bloggers, WhatsAPP group admins and other social media users must have licenses in order to operate their platform.
The gag orders stinks to high heaven and the Kenyattas who live in a glass house have thrown the first stone.
To digress, the other issue is that one legislation that seeks to tax social media broadly put as digital tax.
Wasee wamejaa mafi kwa kichwa. Kuwa na pesa ni tofauti na kua na akili.
How can one tax online businesses?
By the way, the Finance Bill 2019 which proposes this has already been signed int law, against the warning from the internet giant Google. The Finance Bill 2019 that will see online business slapped with an income tax.
Amnesty is resisting the amendments to the Kenya Information & Communication Bill that is before the National Assembly.
The proposed law will require you to have a licence at a prescribed fee to share news articles. According to these amendments the admins will approve the members of the group, approve content and control undesirable content and discussion. Failure to do so, you will be liable to a fine of 200K or to a jail term of 1 year.
Other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are not spared either. If you share articles through your pages/platforms, that makes you a blogger according to the Kenyan government and therefore you require a license for that.
These are draconian laws.
These are strange times and we Kenyans need to continue the conversation online, we need to support Amnesty International and we need to come out on the streets and force these gestapo tactics to be shelved forever.
These laws must be DEFEATED.
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