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Authority and National Cohesion and Integration Commission Sign Pact to Curb Hate Speech

Posted on: 22nd December 2020

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) chairman Dr.Rev.Samuel Kobia (second left) and Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Chairman Mr.Ngene Gituku exchange a  Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two institutions to foster collaboration on areas of concurrent jurisdiction. With them are Dr.Skitter Mbugua, NCIC Commission Secretary and Mrs.Mercy Wanjau, acting Director General,Communications Authority of Kenya. 

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and National Cohesion & Integration Commission (NCIC) have stepped up efforts to curb hate speech and misuse of social media platforms through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Through the MoU signed today, the two agencies intend to minimize duplication of roles and enhance the regulation of broadcasters, especially with respect to monitoring adherence to broadcast related content standards.

Hate messages have the potential to polarize the country, perpetuate fear and hate among Kenyans. The Authority and NCIC consider this kind of content irresponsible and injurious to the social cohesion fabric in Kenya.

The areas of cooperation between the two institutions include compliance and enforcement, capacity building, information sharing and awareness creation. These in in effect will foster evidence-based decision making for interventions in areas of concurrent jurisdiction.

“The Authority and NCIC will also jointly review any existing policies and regulatory mechanism to ensure they are responsive to emerging realities, especially in the dynamic space of content regulation, including online content,” said Mr.Ngene Gituku, CA Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Speaking in the same event the Chairman of NCIC, Dr. Rev. Samuel Kobia, urged  bloggers, online news sites, political leaders and their followers to exercise discretion at all times to curb misuse of social media platforms.

The two organizations urged broadcasters to manage their social media sites responsibly, to deter posting of divisive and undesirable user generated content in line with the provisions of the Programming Code.

Broadcasters are also advised to exercise caution to avoid giving hate mongers a platform to propagate hate speech, ethnic contempt, and incitement to violence.

Website and blog site administrators are also urged to take extra caution by authenticating and validating the source and truthfulness of content prior to publishing, in order to limit information that might spread rumors, mislead or incite people to violence. Content authors should be honest to correct content that is established as false or misleading.

Most importantly, content published on social media should be done in line with the provisions of the Constitution, National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008, the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 and other relevant laws.

“We are therefore glad that through this framework, these two public institutions will collectively pursue objectives that can enhance national cohesion and in the end, contribute to a peaceful and prosperous nation,” said Mrs. Mercy Wanjau, acting Director General of CA.

Dr. Skitter Mbugua, NCIC Commission Secretary said, “Kenyans are looking up to us to give hope and assure them of a peaceful environment. Thus, this MOU gives us another important way in which to share this guidance as we look forward to fully explore the opportunities that this new relationship with Communication Authority of Kenya will offer, as our partnership develops.”

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