Kenya’s government has decided not to shut down the internet during and after elections. This has been lauded by digital rights and inclusion organizations on the continent, who want to ensure the media continues to operate freely.
Pan African Digital Rights and Inclusion Organization, Paradigm Initiative (PIN), with an alliance of digital rights and inclusion organisations, KICTANet, welcomed the Government’s commitment and urged it to remain faithful to it as Kenyans prepare to cast their vote on August 9th, 2022.
The alliance pointed out that earlier assertion by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to block Meta Inc’s Facebook platforms for reportedly failing to adhere to hate speech regulations recommended by the government was alarming.
According to the organizations, the re-assurances issued by Cabinet Secretary of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Innovation and Youth Affairs, Mr Joe Mucheru and his Interior and Coordination of National Government counterpart, Dr Fred Matiang’i, were encouraging.
They further noted that Kenya has made a significant step in the right direction, which other countries in the region should emulate, more so those gearing for elections like Nigeria and Angola.
PIN Senior Manager on Strategy, Boye Adegoke, said, “Access to information and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights as highlighted in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Grace Githaiga, KICTANet Convenor, added that the government’s move demonstrates its effort to widen the country’s digital rights and inclusion space, noting that freedom of expression and privacy online is a virtual extension of human rights in the internet age.