NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – The government is tracking down three Facebook page administrators for spreading ethnic animosity.
The pages which have 50,000 followers are Luo Nation, RIP Citizen TV and Nyanza si Kenya, according to the Director of Public Communication Mary Ombara.
“The pages perpetuate ethnic economic sabotage, messages of ethnic stereotypes and ethnic murder. As of now the committee (National Steering Committee on Media Monitoring) reassures the country that we are doing everything possible to track down the origins of the hate speech bloggers,” Ombara said.
The acting Police Spokesman, Charles Owino, who was also present at the press briefing concurred with Ombara and asked Kenyans to move on now that there is a new government in place.
“We (Kenyans) are so integrated in such a manner that you cannot start spreading hate speech; asking people from a certain region not to be in a certain place, because all of us are everywhere,” Owino said.
Overall however, the ministry says hate speech on social media is on the decline and it will within two weeks propose legislation to help police the Internet.
“Hate speech on social media has gone slightly down in the last one week in terms of the number of hate postings. It is however not extinguished and we are therefore very happy about the Independent Communications Commission of Kenya Bill,” Ombara said.
“This is a Bill which will help us, if it actually becomes an Act, to govern better the Internet and broadband areas and broadcast areas in general so we are very happy about this.”
In addition to the Independent Communications Commission of Kenya Bill, the ministry will be putting forward three other proposed legislations for deliberation by the 11th Parliament.
They are: the Revised Media Bill (2012), The Freedom of Information Bill and the Revised Kenya Information and Communications Bill (2012).
The Freedom of Information Bill is currently before the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution and the Revised Media Bill is expected to be conclusively presented to stakeholders in a fortnight.
“The new draft Bill seeks to reform among other things, the composition of the Media Council of Kenya, whose current membership is being discussed in varied quarters,” Ombara said of the Revised Media Bill.
At the briefing, the Chief Information Officer Nancy Mathu, who was speaking at the behest of the Acting Director of Information Olewe Owiti, also called attention to the presidential portraits currently being hawked following the inauguration of Presidential Uhuru Kenyatta.
Owiti wants enterprises that display the president’s portraits to ensure they meet set standards by purchasing them directly from Jogoo House A or the county information offices.
“Some enterprising Kenyans are selling copies of President Uhuru’s portrait which are not of official approved standards. These unauthorised copies are done using different colour backgrounds and poor paper quality, unofficial facial images and wrong titles.”