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Saturday, July 31, 2021

NCIC warns over rising cases of social media hate speech

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has warned on the rise in hate speech among Kenyans on social media.

Speaking at a media briefing with editors in Nairobi, NCIC Chair Samuel Kobia, said they created the wall of fame and shame to create social consequences for leaders spewing hate.

“It is an idea meant to de-popularise hate speech even as we actively pursue criminal charges,” said Kobia.

He added: “For us to achieve a hate free environment, we need the fourth estate to utilize its immense power to shift public sentiment and create an environment where Kenyans jeer instead of cheer at hate speech.”

Kobia said the mantra that if it bleeds it leads is a maxim that perhaps Kenyans and the media should no longer live by.

He noted the struggle to unify Kenyans continues everyday as the high levels of political intolerance evident in both the public and social media demand for strategic efforts that will count as a political rhetoric that has the ability of dividing Kenyans along ethnic and class lines.

“And it is on social media which we are not very experienced in dealing, it is new but we are building the capacity to be able to monitor very closely what goes on in social media because this is where many of those who are guilty of these vices have migrated to. Therefore we must follow them there and make sure that they account for whatever they say,” said Kobia

At the same he said there is still more work to do to address the sporadic violence among different tribes and clans.

Kobia sent a warning shot to the political class, saying those hell-bent on propagating hate and ethnic contempt will face the full force of the law.

He revealed the commission has put in place strategies to curb and tame hatemongers during the upcoming by-elections and General elections in 2022.

Concerning the deadly clashes in parts of the country, Kobia disclosed that the conflicts are still raging in Marsabit, West Pokot and Turkana despite efforts to contain the situation.

Deputy President Kenya Editors Guild, Samuel Maina, said the media should now, more than ever before stop covering those who incite kenyans.

“Just give them a black out because we cannot be the mouthpiece of people inciting violence in our country and countrymen,” Maina said.

He said NCIC should focus on vernacular radio stations to reach out to people in the grassroots. He added that the biggest challenge that faced NCIC and the country some years back were vernacular radio stations, but that has shifted to social media.

“Social media is an area that all of us should be worried about. We must join hands for the sake of our nation to deal with hate speech on social media,” said Maina.

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