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Friday, July 28, 2017

Move in on hate speech, but protect freedoms

Security agencies have put social media users on notice over hate speech. /COURTESY
Security agencies have put social media users on notice over hate speech. /COURTESY

Internet hate mongers have been put on notice as monitoring agencies shift focus to tracking down sources of messages that could fan the flames of violence.

The National Police Service, National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the Communications Authority of Kenya seem to be finally moving in concert and taking deterrent action.

Social media monitoring ahead of the General Election has been necessitated by astonishing levels of hate speech and other vitriol.

Yesterday, a college student in Eldoret was charged for hate speech and ethnic contempt, following messages he posted on his Facebook account.

He was released on bond Sh1 million bond and cash bail of Sh500,000. The case will be heard on August 1.

The NCIC has mapped 21 WhatsApp groups for intensified hate speech monitoring.

Whereas social media use should at all times be responsible, the authorities need to take the greatest care that they do not take away citizens’ rights to free expression and communication.

Fair comment needs to be protected at all times.

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