MPs Vow to Shoot Down Bill Seeking to Gag Use of Facebook, WhatsApp in Kenya

MPs Vow to Shoot Down Bill Seeking to Gag Use of Facebook, WhatsApp in Kenya

MPs drawn from National Assembly’s Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) have vowed to shoot down a bill seeking to censor the use of social media in Kenya.

The bill, which is sponsored by Malava MP Malulu Injendi, wants administrators of Facebook and WhatsApp groups to seek licenses from Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) at a fee.

“The Commission may on the application in a prescribed manner and upon payment of a prescribed fee, grant a license authorizing any person to establish a social media platform for purposes of communication,” the bill dubbed Kenya Information and Communication (Amendment) Bill, 2019 states.

Led by Chairperson William Kisang, National Assembly ICT Committee said the bill is not implementable and will be rejected.

“We will call the MP after he tables the Bill and give him expert advice, we should be realistic, even if we passed the Bill it will be quashed by the courts,” Kisang said.

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi, a member of the committee, said what the bill is seeking to achieve is covered in the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Act, which was passed last year.

The proposed law also requires that WhatsApp group administrators approve members and content using legal documents. 

The administrator will further be expected to keep all the data of the users of the group and submit the same to authorities when required.

The bill also states that admins must ensure that members of the WhatsApp group are of ‘age of majority’.

“Any person who contravenes the provision of this section shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Ksh. 200,000 or to an imprisonment of a term not exceeding one year,” the Bill reads.

It also proposes a fine of Sh500,000 or two-year jail term for those found guilty of posting degrading or intimidating content online.

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