The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) held a training on internet and the law in Nakuru last Saturday, July 24.
The training which was conducted by Mugambi Laibuta, an Advocate of the High Court and Riva Jalipa of Article 19 was attended by internet enthusiasts among them, a section of bloggers in the county. It was also attended by a students from one of the schools in the county.
Here are some take away tips from the training:
• There are two ways in which the law will apply when you misuse the internet; as a criminal case and as a civil case.
• One of the laws that is being applied in the country in charging those who misuse the internet is section 29 of the Kenya Information and Communication Act (KICA) which outlaws the “misuse of a licensed telecommunication equipment.”
• It is important for you to have control of the internet platform on which you post information.
• Always be cautious not to tweet or re-tweet unconfirmed reports.
• Beware that the internet never forgets and that what you post today may be used many days to come against you.
• Always remember to protect the privacy of others.
What to do when arrested on misuse of the internet:
• Arm yourself with information on the rights of an arrested person.
• Always ask why you have been arrested.
• You can apply for a cash bail or bond.
• Ask for opportunity to contact a lawyer.
• Keep in mind that you have right to a fair trial.
• When in court never accept liability.
Defenses against defamation:
• Truth – having your facts right.
• Honest opinion – being objective on issues you comment devoid of malice or other hidden intentions.
• Public interest – highlighting on issues for the sake of the public good.
• Commenting for academic purposes – this involves analyzing issues within academic circles.
Constitutional articles that highlight on internet and the law:
• Article 27: The article is on ‘Equality and discrimination’ and states among other things that
“every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law and that”
equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and fundamental freedoms.”
• Article 31: Privacy: States that
“every person has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have information relating to their family or private affairs unnecessarily required or revealed,” among other issues.
• Article 33: Freedom of expression: That every person has the right to freedom of expression which includes freedom to seek, receive or impart information or ideas.” But
“the right to freedom of expression does not extend to propaganda for war; incitement to violence; hate speech; or advocacy of hatred that constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others or incitement to cause harm.”
• Article 34: Freedom of the Media: That
“freedom and independence of electronic, print and all other types of media is guaranteed,”
“the State shall not exercise control over or interfere with any person engaged in broadcasting, the production or circulation of any publication or the dissemination of information by any medium; or penalize any person for any opinion or view or the content of any broadcast, publication or discrimination.”
• Article 35: Access of information: That
“every citizen has the right to information held by the State; and information held by another person and required for the exercise or protection of any right or fundamental freedom,”
“every person has the right to the correction or deletion of untrue or misleading information that affects the person.”
• Article 49: The rights of an arrested person which include “the right to remain silent” and “the consequences of not remaining silent.”
• Article 50: Fair hearing: That
“every person has the right to have any dispute resolved by the application of law decided in a fair and public hearing before a court or, if appropriate, another independent and impartial tribunal or body.”
• Article 51: Rights of persons who are detained, held in custody or imprisoned: That
“a person who is detained, held in custody or imprisoned under the law, retains all the rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights, except to the extent that any particular right or a fundamental freedom is clearly incompatible with the fact that the person is detained, held in custody or imprisoned.”
This includes right to petition for a habeas corpus, petition a court to have an arrested person and who cannot be traced presented in court either dead or alive.
Organizations that can be of help:
There are quite a number of organizations involved in the business of dissemination of information to large masses and they that can be of assistance either directly or indirectly when you are in trouble. It’s important that you get to develop a network with them early enough.
• Article 19.
• Media Council of Kenya.
• The Kenya Correspondents Association.
• Bloggers Association of Kenya.
• Committee to Protect Journalists.