Malava MP, Malulu Injendi sponsored a Bill to amend the Kenya Information and Communications Act to provide for the regulation of the use of social media platforms. The Bill sought to introduce new sections to the Act on licensing of social media platforms, sharing of information by a licensed person, creating obligations to social media users, registration of bloggers and give responsibility to the Communications Authority to develop a bloggers code of conduct in consultation with bloggers.
In a public hearing on the KICA Bill, presided over by Communication Committee Chair Hon William Kisang, organizations that submitted their memoranda on the proposed bill including The Kenya Union of Journalists jointly with the Bloggers Association of Kenya, Lawyers Hub Kenya, the Kenya ICT Action Network, and Amnesty International Kenya, urged against the bill saying that it infringed the freedom of expression of social media users.
“KICA is not supposed to deal with content, it’s supposed to deal with systems. This is a retrogressive bill that undermines freedom of speech and thought,” said Demas Kiprono, Constitutional & Human Rights Lawyer at Amnesty International Kenya.
The organizations argued that the Bill failed to undergo prepublication scrutiny and that there are other laws in place that sufficiently covers the aspects being proposed by these amendments. The Bill violates section 200 under Article 31 which guarantees the right to privacy, Article 32 which guarantees the freedom of belief and opinion, Article 33 that guarantees the freedom of expression, Article 34 that gives the people freedom of the media and lastly Article 35 that guaranteed us the access to information.
Giving his conclusive remarks on the public hearing, Kisang said that the committee will submit a report to the National Assembly on the public views with supporting evidence that the proposed bill is unconstitutional and thus should be rejected.