Governance

Unlicensed Bloggers, Social Media Admins in Kenya Risk Jail Time

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Image courtesy Kampusville

Trouble certainly lies ahead for bloggers and social media admins in Kenya as they will be required to obtain licences. This is all thanks to a bill proposed by Malava Member of Parliament Malulu Injedi.

The bill seeks not only social media but also WhatsApp group admins to be officially licenced by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) before setting up any groups on the platform. Failure to this could see them risk jail time for allowing users to publish obnoxious content.

If the bill is passed, administrators based in the country will have to obtain approval from the CA that will monitor the discussions and posts therein.

“A social media user shall ensure that any content published, written or shared through the social media platform does not degrade or intimidate a recipient of the content,” the bill states.

The bill goes further to suggest that bloggers be required to obtain a permit from the CA in order to have the right to operate. This means anyone who is involved in “collecting, writing, editing and presenting of news or news articles on social media platforms or on the internet” will have to register with the CA. Should it be passed to law, those who register will be listed in the regulator’s Bloggers’ Registry under the Bloggers’ code of conduct.

“The new part will introduce new sections to the Act on licensing of social media platforms, sharing of information by a licensed person, creates obligations to social media users, registration of bloggers and seeks to give responsibility to CA to develop a Bloggers’ code of conduct in consultation with the bloggers.”

Anyone found to violate these requirements will risk jail time of up to two years or a minimum fine of KES 500,000.

This would certainly not be the first time that this bill has come to life as it was proposed back in 2019 but was not successful. And like past times, it’s clear that this bill will not be received well by those in the industry.

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