Kenya: New Bill Seeks To Jail Unlicensed Bloggers

by Wakili Liam

A new bill is in parliament seeking to redefine how bloggers in Kenya carry out their operations and how users on social media platforms use these for communication.

The bill dubbed as the Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Act, 2019  which was presented by the Member of Parliament for Malava constituency in Kakamega county, will require all bloggers in Kenya to register with the Communications Authority to operate if passed.

Failure to register and obtain an operating license, bloggers could be fined roughly 200,000 shillings or get prison term not exceeding 1 year.

According to the bill, a blogger is defined as any person who collects, writes, edits and presents news or news articles on social media platforms or on the internet.

Bloggers will now be required to apply for a license to establish a social media platform for purposes of communication.

To determine if bloggers are going to be licenced, the bill states the following terms and conditions:

  • The blogger should have a physical office in the country;
  • the registration of all users of the social media platform using legal documents;
  • a requirement that the licensee shall keep all the data of the users of its platform and shall submit the same to the Commission when required;
  • the licensee shall carry out due diligence to ensure that all its users, if natural persons are of age of majority.
  • The Commission may revoke a license granted under this section where the licensee is in breach of its terms and conditions provided under subsection (2).

The bill goes ahead to state that the CA shall keep a register of bloggers in a prescribed manner and will develop a bloggers code of conduct.

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