The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) has launched the State of the Internet in Kenya 2017 report. The report, the third of its kind, documents significant events in digital rights and on the Internet in the past year in Kenya.
The report highlights ways in which the internet played a role in Kenya’s 2017 General Election where for three months Kenya witnessed a General Election, its subsequent invalidation by the Supreme Court, and a fresh Presidential Election. During the election season, the internet was used by political parties, figures and their supporters to distribute campaign messages. It was also unfortunately used by others to spread false information and propaganda.
The reports notes that the internet remained on during the election period despite fears of an impending internet shutdown. Digital rights groups played a part in ensuring the internet was not shut down during the election period. The importance of sustained online campaigns such as #KeepItOn which played a part in creating awareness and pressuring the government to commit to an open internet.
The report also notes that 2017 represented a break from the practise of abusing the justice system by the government to suppress freedom of expression. The courts interpreted criminal defamation and the offence of ‘undermining the authority of a public officer’ to be incompatible with the Kenyan Constitution.
In addition, 2017 saw the rise and awareness on cyber bullying. In May 2017, cyberbullying of a 29-year-old woman on Facebook was linked her eventual suicide. The Computer and Cybercrimes Bill in 2017 is aimed at addressing Cybercrimes and bullying in Kenya. Circulation of sexually explicit photos without consent was also on the rise.
2018 looks bright with a push by different groups to review and repeal antiquated legal provisions and enactment of new laws and policies that will further protect digital rights.
(From #iFreeKE blog).