Bloggers to be arraigned in court for spreading hate speech

The National Media Monitoring Steering Committee in Kenya has confirmed two bloggers suspected of peddling hate speech on social media have been arrested and will be arraigned in court in two weeks.

Secretary to the committee Mary Ombara said with special focus now on social media, bloggers who have been under surveillance for the last two months have been identified and will be prosecuted.

The committee however did not disclose the identities of the bloggers.

“We have succeeded in reducing to a large extent hate speech and incitement from mainstream media. We are confident that the tension and conflict experienced at the 2007 election have been considerably reduced,” she said.

Ombara further indicated that the committee was in close interaction with international social media sites to crack down on hate speech.

Citing the recent Garissa attack, the committee regretted the ensuing hate speech and incitement on Facebook as well as the heightening political activities.

“We make an earnest appeal to the management of Facebook to fully implement its obligations under its terms of service since its statement on rights and responsibilities bars content of hate to be posted on sites,” she continued.

The National Media Monitoring Steering Committee wants Facebook to ban bloggers who create these pages and to remove the ethnic hate speech used by some Kenyans.

Other social media sites mentioned by the committee as acting as a safe haven for bloggers engaging in hate speech include YouTube and MySpace, which she termed as “extremist sites”.

“As a committee we are determined to eradicate the proliferation of hate and intolerance on social networks as other countries have done through education and awareness creation especially among young impressionable people,” said Ombara.

The commission has one more briefing left should the country elect a president without the need for a run-off.

Posted in: Internet

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