CS Matiang'i speaks on shutting down social media in Kenya

CS addressing idea of shutting down social media

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i has spoken on the possibility of a social media shut down over hate speech.

Dr Matiang'i noted that other countries have been known to shut down social media around elections time as a way of maintaining law and order.

He, however, noted that Kenya would not be among those nations and assured members of the public that the security forces would deal with any online bullies before they cause any trouble.

Speaking during the launch of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) strategic plan, the CS ruled out any chances of a total social media blackout.

"We are not going to do those things that people do in other places on Earth like turn off the internet or switch off twitter , those will not happen in this country. This is a confident government. We are not going to harass people, break the law or interfere with the freedoms of our people. We will call people to account." he insisted.

The CS also sent a warning to vernacular media stations which may be tempted to exploit the fact that they use a language whose use is limited.

"Vernacular radio stations and those of us who have already fallen into the temptation of misusing social and the internet.

"In some cases we will be fairly ruthless, when it comes to those who interfere with the freedom of others or those who engage in activities that are likely to mess up our country. We will not hesitate neither will we be intimidated by any pressures or complains from anybody. We will protect this country because it our only home on earth," he stated.

Media Blackout

In January 2018, right after the 2017 General Election, CS Matiang'i along with his ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru instituted a media blackout of three of Kenya's major media stations.

The blackout came as the National Super Alliance (NASA) moved to swear in former Prime Minister Raila Odinga as "the People's President" in protest of the outcome of the repeat presidential election of October 2017.

"Accordingly, the Government took a decision to shut down the concerned media houses, until further notice, as it launches a full investigation into the serious breach of security," he explained at the time.

The blackout lasted seven days with CS Matiang'i claiming that it had been necessary and accusing KTN, NTV and Citizen in causing unrest in the country with the broadcast of the NASA event.

"The individuals who are involved in this and the organizations involved in this, wherever they are within the borders of this country, will feel it and they will be so sorry," he stated at the time.

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