Hate mongers are now on official notice their hate speech will no longer be tolerated.
For months, indeed, more than a year now, we have seen an escalation of hate speech especially on the Internet and credible sources tell me one of the hate speech mongers and tribalist received a visit from law enforcement in which he was vigorously interrogated. At the conclusion of the interview, the hate monger basically begged for mercy but the investigating agents left without promising anything either way.
The Daily Nation is now reporting that 8 bloggers are under investigation for possible prosecution for hate speech. I commend this move and so should all peace loving Kenyans.
Yes, it’s a good thing we are enjoying these new freedoms of expression and association but that’s not a license to engage in hate speech or defamation.
While some say the line between acceptable speech and hate speech is thin or blurry, I beg to differ.
One can see hate speech from a mile and so does the law.
Indeed, many, if not all, of the hate mongers know precisely where they are crossing the line but in their idiocy think they can with impunity.
Maybe so in their hateful minds but not under the law and especially given the fact we just cannot let these few hate mongers succeed in once again stoking tribal animosity and hatred that invariably leads to violence as we saw in 2007.
Yours truly is in the process of preparing a memo at no charge outlining how these issues are effectively handled in other countries and will share with law enforcement and others as appropriate.
Meanwhile, here is the DN story:
By Lucas Barasa, Daily Nation
Kenyans fanning hatred through short text messaging could be liable to a fine of up to Sh5 million, the government has warned.
The National Steering Committee on media monitoring said modern and appropriate technology is being put in place to pick up any abusive messages or those that inflame hatred and incitement.
“Those charged with the offence will be liable for prosecution and may be subject to extremely high fines, some as high as Sh5 million and above,” said acting director of communications in the Ministry of Information Omwa Ombara Wednesday.
Ms Ombara, who was accompanied by deputy police spokesman Charles Owino, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) corporate affairs manager Christopher Wambua and Film Services director Alex Kerich said eight bloggers were being investigated for hate speech and would be prosecuted soon.
“Ways are being sought to disable these destructive medium and Communications Commission of Kenya is looking closely into the matter.
“We are now working with the Department of Public Prosecutions as the area of prosecutions of violations of social media is still new,” Ms Ombara told journalists during the weekly briefing at Teleposta House in Nairobi.
The officials appealed to Kenyan bloggers to be alert and vigilant and “bring to our attention any hate speech they detect on the internet.”
“We urge you to forward the names of such blogs to the Ministry of Information and Communications for relevant action to be taken,” Ms Ombara said.
The committee expressed concern over the “potential and indeed growing misuse of the internet to propagate hate-filled and inciting messages”.
“The steering committee appeals to our media houses and indeed all practitioners to condemn these forums where extremists get occasion to spread this sinister agenda,” Ms Ombara who read a statement on behalf of the committee said.
Divide along tribal lines
The committee said as the electioneering period approaches, Kenyans should be vigilant of groups and individuals who seek to divide them along tribal and religious lines.
“The government will act to ensure that the internet is not used to provide room for such activity,” the statement said.
Mr Owino said the government will deploy enough security in Coast when voter registration starts following threats to disrupt the exercise.
He said police were ready for the March 4, 2013 elections despite recent skirmishes in parts of the country.
“We urge leaders to ask their supporters to be peaceful. We are also watching leaders issuing inflammatory remarks,” Mr Owino said.
Mr Owino said the planned police reforms is good and that the force is yearning for it
“It will end the situation where we are given a salary increment and yet it is not implemented,” Mr Owino said.
He said Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere is prepared for a smooth transition once an Inspector General of Police is appointed.