Sabahi (Washington, DC)

2 January 2013

Kenyan Monitoring Committee Warns Bloggers to Curb Hate Speech

Kenyan bloggers that spread hate messages will likely exacerbate ethnic tensions ahead of the March 4th general elections, the National Committee on Media Monitoring (NCMM) said Wednesday (January 2nd).

The committee's secretary, Mary Ombara, said some of the content on blogs that have appeared on major news websites have bordered on hate speech, Kenya's Daily Nation reported.

"We have written to media houses whose blogs have been receiving numerous hits, most of it ethnic hatred between two big tribes in the country," she said. She said many people are reading the content of these blogs, sometimes attracting about 1,000 reader comments.

Ombara called on the parliament to speed passage of the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) bill, which establishes a framework for regulating cyber content.

Ombara said the commission intends to pursue individual bloggers. "We will work with the CCK to trace computers used to send the vitriolic messages that will hopefully lead to the naming and shaming of the individuals involved," she said.

Acting Director of Communications in the Ministry of Information Omwa Ombara said in September that Kenyans who incite violence and send hateful messages through social media and text messages could face steep fines.

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