A number of websites might soon become inaccessible in Kenya. This could easily happen if a Computer, Misuse and Cybercrimes (Amendment) bill, 2021 sponsored by Garissa Member of Parliament Aden Duale is passed. The bill proposes that the government block some websites, making them inaccessible.
The bill further discourages the use of electronic mediums to promote pornography, terrorism, extreme religious or cult activities. It proposes that the National Computer and Cybercrimes committee recommend specific websites that should be accessible to Kenyans.
It further specifies in the amendments that no one shall knowingly use computer systems to upload pornographic content, manufacture pornographic content for distribution or download, distribute or transmit pornographic content. Storage or possession of pornographic content in an electronic system is also illegal in the new amendment.
The government has not named the websites, although the generalization of the statement means that a significant number of them could be prohibited for unexplained reasons. Anyone found in contravention of the above amendments will be liable to pay a fine of up to KES 20 million, or be jailed up to a maximum of 25 years.
“A person who publishes or transmits electronic messages that is likely to cause other persons to join or participate in terrorist activities, commits and offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty million shilling or imprisonment for a term not exceeding twenty-five years, or both.”
If the bill is approved, some journalists, bloggers and other stakeholders might find themselves on the wrong side of the law.