ICT CS questions NCIC intention to suspend facebook without the government’s green light

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has dismissed threats made by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) on Friday to suspend Meta Inc’s Facebook platform for allegedly failing to adhere to hate speech regulations recommended by the government body.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, the ICT minister raised questions as to how NCIC intends to suspend the platform without the government’s green light underscoring that the media, including social media platforms, will continue to operate freely in Kenya without government control, restriction, or censorship.

“Media, including social media, will continue to enjoy press freedom in Kenya. Not clear what legal framework NCIC plans to use to suspend Facebook. Govt is on record. We are not shutting down the Internet,” said Mucheru on his verified Twitter account.

On Friday morning, NCIC Commissioner Danvas Makori lamented what he said was Facebook’s failure to follow through with the regulations suggested by the anti-hate speech body.

He also cited Facebook’s reported refusal to have peace messages published by NCIC to be hosted on the social networking platform.

Mr. Makori, who was speaking at an event titled ‘Hate Speech on Facebook In Kenya,’ said attempts by the commission to publish and push peace messages on Facebook have been suppressed and that the social media platform has been allowing hate speech to be freely spread across the networking site.

“We have written to Facebook and requested that they comply with the regulatory requirements we put across. If Facebook fails to do that, we will recommend that Facebook services be suspended in Kenya. Facebook has seven days to reply to us, failure to which we take the action of suspension immediately,” he said. 

“We are a Government agency. We have been trying to push peace messages on Facebook but Facebook has been suppressing them. We have been unable to fight hate speech online because Facebook has refused to allow us to publish these messages.”

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