Ndemo was speaking at the weekly briefing of the National Steering Committee on Media Monitoring, where he said that the blocked messages were part of the government partnership with telecoms to curb the spread of negative messages during and after elections.
“Most of mobile phone providers block 300,000 hate short message texts (SMSs) per day to prevent events similar to what happened in 2007,” Ndemo said.
According to director of public communications Mary Ombara, the mobile service providers have installed special software that screens SMSs for keywords related to hate speech, like ‘kill’.
“The context would then be scrutinised and if found to be offensive, the SMS would be blocked,” Ombara said.
Despite their efforts in curbing hate speech via SMS, Ndemo admitted the government was finding it hard to control the spread of hate via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Ndemo said the Kenyan government was doing its best to ensure that this is controlled.
The first step, he said, was to meet Facebook’s and Twitter’s management teams to work out the modalities of controlling hate messages from spreading on the platforms.
This comes just a day after the country’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) revealed they were in the final stages of investigating four individuals before charging them with spreading hate speech on social media.