The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji‘s relentless pursuit of individuals alleged to be uttering inciteful remarks has led him to the biggest social media platform in the world, Facebook.
In a letter on Friday, January 14, the DPP directed Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai to investigate inciteful content made by a Facebook account named Lamu County Politics Unlimited Group featuring over 12 individuals.
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Mutyambai was handed an ultimatum of 30 days to submit a conclusive report and the letter addressed to the police boss was copied to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) chairperson Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia.
The 12 individuals had used pseudonyms in propagating content attributed to hate speech.
“They have published content that may incite feelings of contempt, hatred, hostility, violence or discrimination towards certain ethnic groups which are contrary to Article 33 ( 2 ) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, Section 62 ( 1 ) of the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008 and Sections 22 and 23 of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018.
“Consequently, I hereby direct you to institute comprehensive investigations into the said publications and submit the resultant investigation file within 30 days hereof. A progress report should be forwarded to my office within 14 days for further directions,” Haji ordered the IG.
The order comes amidst new claims that the militia was not responsible for the spike in attacks witnessed in Lamu County.
Gatundu South Member of Parliament Moses Kuria had absolved terrorists from the recent blame and alleged that the attacks were a result of issues regarding land in the area.
He addressed the government by convincing them to send Lands Cabinet Secretary, Farida Karoney to tackle the matter so as to equally subdivide the land and chase away the land speculators.
Facebook (now Meta)’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities prohibits hate speech. While there is no universally accepted definition of hate speech, as a platform, it defines the term to mean direct and serious attacks on any protected category of people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or disease.
The company works hard to remove hate speech quickly, however, there are instances of offensive content, including distasteful humour, that are not hate speech according to its definition.
“In these cases, we work to apply fair, thoughtful, and scalable policies. This approach allows us to continue defending the principles of freedom of self-expression on which Facebook is founded.
“We’ve also found that posting insensitive or cruel content often results in many more people denouncing it than supporting it on Facebook. That being said, we realize that our defence of freedom of expression should never be interpreted as a license to bully, harass, abuse or threaten violence,” explained the company in a blog post.