Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Kenya signs bill criminalising fake news

Kenya signs bill criminalising fake news

President Kenyatta has signed the controversial Computer and Cyber-Crimes Bill 2018 into law.

The Computer and Cybercrimes Bill, 2017 states that any person who violates one of the 17 offences outlined by the Bill will be convicted and sentenced to fines or imprisonment, depending on the offence.

The new law spells out harsh punishment to cybercriminals and the process of seeking reparation by victims of cybercrime.

"This includes search and seizure of stored computer data, record of and access to seized data, production order for data, expedited preservation, partial disclosure, real-time collection and interception of data", said Kenyatta in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The assent comes at the time when experts requested Kenyatta to return the bill to Parliament for further discussion to ensure the law would not interfere with the freedom of expression and media freedom.

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According to clause 12 of the law, publishing of a false or fictitious information will attract a Sh5 million fine or a two-year jail term.

Through the Cybercrimes Act, the government is going to establish a National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee.

Kenya has criminalized online offences including publication of false information, cyber espionage and cyber bullying among others.

Following the passing of the Bill, generating and spreading fake news on social media could now land you in jail for at least five years, or leave you with millions of shillings to pay in court fines.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi presented the Bills and witnessed the signing alongside Deputy President William Ruto, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki and Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto.

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