Kenyan Man Arrested for Posting “Misleading and Alarming” Coronavirus Information

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Sourced from Live Science

In the wake of coronavirus outbreaks across Africa, a Kenyan man has been charged with spreading misleading and alarming information – essentially fake news – on social media.

Taking to Twitter, 23-year-old Elijah Muthui Kitonyo published a tweet where he (1) claimed to be working at the International Airport where the first confirmed COVID-19 case had entered and (2) that the Kenyan government were lying about the status of the case.

In an official statement from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Kitonyo will be charged with publishing false and calculated information that could result in a panic – infringing on section 23 of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act of 2018.


 

Section 23 says “a person who knowingly publishes information that is false in print, broadcast, data over a computer system, that is calculated or results in panic, chaos, or violence among citizens of the Republic, or which is likely to discredit the reputation of a person commits an offence” – resulting in the arrest and charge of Kitonyo.
According to Techweez, if found guilty “this charge means that [Kitonyo] is liable to a fine not exceeding Kshs 5 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both”.
“This is the first time we have seen the government use the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act to crack down on people on social media who send fake news.”
Edited by Jenna Delport
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