Thursday, 17 May 2018
Sharing fake news now a crime in Kenya
Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta has signed the controversial Computer and Cyber-Crimes Bill 2018 into law. The Act – which spells out stiff punishment to cybercriminals – provides for timely and effective detection, prohibition, prevention, response, investigation and prosecution of computer and cybercrimes.
It deals with offences relating to computer systems including but not limited to unauthorised access, unauthorised interference, unauthorised interception, unauthorised disclosure of passwords, cyber espionage, false publications, child pornography, cyber terrorism and wrongful distribution of obscene or intimate images.
Following the passing of the Bill, generating and spreading fake news on social media could now land you in jail for at least five years, or leave you with millions of shillings to pay in court fines. WhatsApp group administrators who condone sharing of fake news or information meant to incite ethnic hatred are also marked for severe punishment.
The Computer and Cyber Crimes Bill, 2018 sought to provide a framework that will prevent and control the threat of cyber crimes and other offences committed by means of computer systems. One such crime is drafting, publishing and spreading false information, popularly known as “fake news.” The bill, tabled in the House by Majority Leader Aden Duale, proposed a Ksh.5 million fine or two years imprisonment for those found guilty of spreading fake news.
“Fake news is an offence under this bill, even when you receive fake news and forward it to another person, that’s an offence in this bill,” Duale had said.