Kenyatta signs law criminalizing fake news

The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta has signed a new law that criminalizes fake news and online bullying as part of efforts to fight cyber-crime.

The law which was signed on Wednesday has however attracted some concerns from rights activists who say it could stifle press freedom.

Under the new law, persons who engage in hacking, computer fraud, forgery of data could face jail term and in some instances heavy fines.

Persons who also engage in cyber espionage, publishing of child pornography or sending pornographic content via any electronic means could also face similar punishment.

Some aspects of the law also criminalizes the publication of “false, misleading or fictitious data”, something that worries bloggers and media rights activists.

Offenders could be fined up to $50 000 or be jailed up to two years in prison, or both.

The Africa coordinator for the Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ), Angela Quintal had spoken against the new law and urged President Kenyatta last week not to sign the law.

“Kenyan legislators have passed a wide-ranging bill that will criminalise free speech, with journalists and bloggers likely to be among the first victims if it is signed into law,” Quintal had said.



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