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Facebook users warn over hateful messages

National Cohesion and Integration Commision (NCIC) Commissioner Dr Danvas Makori has warned Facebook users against using media freedom and freedom of expression to spread hate speech.

Dr. Makori said that any person who stirs ethnic hatred or having regard to all circumstances of ethnic hatred will be punished according to NCIC acts 2019.

Dr. Makori spoke at Britam towers on Friday during the Global Witness and Foxglove press briefing to unveil the ability  and conduct of Facebook in moderating hate speech and incitement to ethnic and gender violence in Kiswahili and English in Kenya as the country heads to the general elections.

Dr Makori defined hate speech according to NCIC acts as a person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior or displays any written material, publishes or distributes written material, presents or directs performance of the public, performance of a play ,distributes or shows a play of recording visual images or provides, produces and directs a programme which is threatening , abusive, insulting or use threatening , abusive or insulting words or behaviour to commit an offence.

Dr Makori cited article 33 which states that every person has the right for media expression. According to article 33 (2) the right of media expression does not extend for propaganda for war, incitement to violence, hate speech or advocacy of hatred  that constitute ethnic  incitement to cause harm or based on any kind of discrimination to others contemplated on article 47 according to NCIC acts.

“Article 34 indicates that freedom and independence of electronic, print and all types of media is guaranteed  but does not extend  to the expression specified on article 33 (2),” said Dr  Makori.

Dr Makori pointed out that Facebook is in violation of  the law of media freedom as they have allowed hate speech, incitement and misinformation and disinformation.

“Facebook has repeatedly denied our efforts  to boost peace messages on their platform yet they allow  hate speech, incitement on their platforms. Legitimate content from a government entity that is mandated to spearhead has been denied,” said Dr. Makori.

Dr Makori stated that NCIC is putting effort to regulate hate speech on media platforms as they were part of a delegation in the United Nations and they have a robust media monitoring unit.

By Rita Muthoni

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