NCIC Monitoring Social Media for Hate Speech

Posted by on 26th March 2011

Categories:   Breaking News

By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)

On Thursday Dr. Mzalendo Kibunja, Head of the National Integration Cohesion
Commission (NCIC), announced that one of the new areas of focus for the commissions
work will be hate speech on the internet. The commission will begin monitoring social
networks and commentaries on news networks for hate speech early as April.

According to the National Integration Cohesion Commission Act of 2008 hate speech
includes using threatening, abusive and insulting words, behavior, displays or written
material, publishing or distributing such written material. Distributing, showing a play or
recording of visual images or producing or directing a programme which is threatening
abusive or insulting that intended to stir up ethnic hatred.
The Act makes hate speech
a criminal offense for which offenders can receive up to 3 years in prison a fine of not
exceeding 1 million shillings or both.

Dr. Kibunja stated: “Facebook, twitter and such networks will be our main focus and I can
tell you most of the hate speech comes from Diaspora not internally.”

Its hard to imagine how NCIC will go about cataloguing ever conceivable kind of hate
speech, will the commission be cataloguing all kinds of hate speech or just hate speech
that is political or ethnic tone, how will the commission avoid the appearance of being
merely a political proceeding, and will the end result be internet regulation?

Monitoring social networks and commentary is a monumental task given the millions
of Kenyans at home and abroad that are on facebook, twitter, have blogs, and amount of
commentary on news websites.

No doubt a very good argument can be made for monitoring social media and news
websites for hate speech given the current political climate. However it is also a rights
mine-field when it comes to ensuring that freedom of expression, freedom of information,
and the right to free speech are not infringed.   I wonder Commission plans to go about its
monitoring?

5 Comments

  • by Kenyan in Diaspora on 27th March 2011

    Claiming that Kenyans in Diaspora are mainly responsible for hate speech is a way to bully them from urging the others to demand change and to distract the public from more important matters like their unaccountability. Has the President been charged for using 'kubafu' whenever he is infront of a microphone? What about Raila's inciteful public rallies? Uhuru je? The truth is Kenyans in Diaspora are mostly anti-governement, not tribalistic, not politically affiliated to their sham parties and are able to protest against them abroad without getting beaten up or arrested for it. Did the Kenyans in Diaspora cause the post election violence? Did they break into people's homes to slaughter neighbours for being of a certain tribe? The Kenyan government is a bully that is very afraid of a Facebook revolution and will do everything it can to frustrate free speech.

  • by Jessy on 27th March 2011

    This is the biggest joke I've ever heard so far this year!! Mzalendo should quit playing with our minds.How many times have we been bombarded with 'hate speech' both in the print and electronic media yet Mzalendo and his group is doing nothing about it? Mr Kibunja the truth is you don't have what it takes to do this job.

  • by Mambo on 8th April 2011

    Kenyans in the Diaspora and Jessy, why are you being so negative and pessimistic. First of all Mzalendo did not say that "Kenyans in Diaspora are mainly responsible for hate speech" generally as you stated Kenyans in the Diaspora. He was speaking in the context of "hate speech in the internet." Do you not understand context. It is true that most hate speech is coming out of diaspora Kenyans, but again, your confused logic mixes you up. Of course the majority of Kenyans in the diaspora do not engage in or care for hate speech on the internet, but the majority of those who do engage in hate speech on the internet come from the diaspora. Every sane Kenyan knows this. That is because most Kenyans at home who are tribalist are not on the internet, and most at home who are on the internet are young people in university. Jessy, why do you attack a man who is trying to do something, what are you doing other than attacking. Jessy do you have what it takes for the job, what in your life have you ever done to build nationalism, the problem with Kenya is not the corrupt people in power, its does who are not in power who like to just talk and complain, even going so far as to attack others are themselves who showing more effort.

  • by swaka on 9th September 2011

    What does Mzalendo have to say about Keter on Kass FM regarding the ICC? Or is he waiting for instructions from above? Talk of a one drawing a salary with misplaced priorities. I can't tell the difference between Mzalendo and PLO, same attire different occasion.

  • by Muindi Kawinzi on 15th December 2011

    Am reporting a case of hate speech on facebook, this user by the name Maear Masikio, whom I believe is a Kenyan needs to be investigated for inciting others and hate speech. Just search his/her name on facebook and you will be see what am talking about.