As the country prepares for national elections next year, authorities in Kenya have warned mobile phone users and those using social media that posting or sending “politically divisive” or “inciting messages” could result in a fine of Sh1 million or imprisonment of up to three years.
This is according to a report in The Star, which quotes Information spokesperson, Bitange Ndemo, as saying, “”People will go to jail for forwarding inflammatory messages,” Ndemo said. He said by December, when all SIM cards are expected to have been registered and counterfeits handsets switched off, the police will be able to trace anyone misusing their phones.
The warning forms part of a set of official rules entitled ‘Guidelines for the prevention of Transmission of undesirable bulk political messages via electronic communication networks’.
This guideline has reportedly been developed by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), in association with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as well as the Registrar of Political Parties, mobile network operators and content service providers.
The Star reports that according to the guidelines, mobile operators and content service providers have the right to evaluate and take appropriate action on correspondence from political parties.