Kenyan authorities said on Monday that they will enhance monitoring and prosecution of individuals spreading inflammatory messages to prevent inter-communal hostilities ahead of August 8 general elections.
Hassan Mohamed, CEO of National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) said that state agencies will intensify vigilance during the campaign season to prevent spread of divisive messages that may jeopardize peace and stability as Kenya gears up for national polls in August.
“We have recruited additional personnel that have already been deployed to all counties to monitor campaign language by aspirants for various seats. Any contestant who incites communities will be liable for prosecution,” said Mohamed.
He spoke in Nairobi during a meeting with leading broadcasters to discuss guidelines that should be adopted to prevent conflict sensitive reporting ahead of August polls.
The East African nation is already on a campaign mode as leaders from major political parties traverse the country to woo voters ahead of August polls that are expected to be hotly contested.
Mohamed emphasized that objective and fair reporting is key to facilitate peaceful elections at local and national level.
“As a commission, we have partnered with key stakeholders in government and the media to promote use of civil language by aspirants campaigning for various elective posts,” Mohamed said.
He revealed the government has acquired the technology to monitor hate speech in political rallies and social media platforms.
“We have trained police officers and our monitors how to use audio recorders and cameras in order for them to identify and report cases of hate speech in real time,” said Mohamed, adding that vernacular radio stations that spread divisive messages will be penalized.
Kenya’s ICT regulator will intensify vigilance to ensure that aspirants from major political parties do not spread propaganda and divisive rhetoric through traditional and new media platforms.
Francis Wangusi, director general of Communications Authority of Kenya, said that media houses will be required to abide by a stringent code of conduct to deter airing of content that would compromise national security during this election season.
“We expect the media to champion peace and unity during this electioneering period by denying a platform to individuals bent on dividing the country along tribal and sectarian lines through use of hateful language,” Wangusi said.
He added the regulator will step up monitoring and law enforcement to minimize spread of propaganda during this campaign season. Enditem
Source: Christine Lagat, Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh