WhatsApp and Facebook groups admins to seek CAK clearance before forming groups

WhatsApp administrators could soon be required to obtain licences from the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) before setting up social media groups if a proposal bill headed to parliament goes through.

The controversial proposal seeking to regulate the social media in the country where WhatsApp and Facebook groups are the order of the day proposes that users and group administrators who allow offending content on their social media platforms be jailed.

If the Bill sails through then the social media group administrators will be required to inform CAK of their intention to form the groups and shall be required to control undesirable content and discussion on the platform they control.

“A social media user shall ensure that any content published, written or shared through the social media platform does not degrade or intimidate a recipient of the content,” states part of The Kenya Information and Communication (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

“Any person who contravenes the provision of this section commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred thousand shillings, or to an imprisonment of a term not exceeding one year,” the bill states.

The group administrators will also need to keep tight control on their members and kick out those who post offending content.

“The new part will introduce new sections to the Act on licensing of social media platforms, sharing of information by a licensed person, creates obligations to social media users, registration of bloggers and seeks to give responsibility to CAK to develop a bloggers’ code of conduct in consultation with bloggers,” reads part of the Bill’s memorandum.

To be affected by these regulations are bloggers who the Bill defines as those involved in “collecting, writing, editing and presenting of news or news articles in social media platforms or in the internet.”

Those who run blogs without CAK’s authority could spend up to two years in jail or pay fines of up to Sh500,000.

The regulator will have a register of bloggers in the country and develop a bloggers’ code of conduct.
To establish a social media group, the Bill proposes that one must have a physical address and data showing all its members.

Additional story: The Standard

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