Google Reveals Items Kenyan Govt Requested to be Pulled Down Under Ruto's Watch

Kenya’s government ramps up online censorship under Ruto’s presidency

The Kenyan government has increased its requests for the removal of online content by its citizens on various platforms, according to Google’s transparency report.

The report shows that the government made 58 requests to Google to take down 1,059 items in the first half of 2023, up from 5 requests to remove 16 items in the second half of 2022.

This is a more than tenfold surge in the number of requests and a 66-fold increase in the number of items targeted.The report reveals that the majority of the requests (46) were made by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), a state agency that regulates film and broadcast content.

KFCB cited violations of the Films and Stage Plays Act, which prohibits the production, distribution, or exhibition of any film or broadcast that is deemed to be obscene, indecent, or contrary to public order or morality.

It also claimed that some of the content violated the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, which criminalizes the publication of false, misleading, or fictitious information online.

The report also shows that 11 requests were made by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), the regulator of the telecommunications sector. The CAK cited violations of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, which empowers the authority to monitor, inspect, and license all forms of electronic communication.

CAK also invoked the National Cohesion and Integration Act, which prohibits hate speech and incitement to violence.The remaining request was made by the Office of the Attorney General, which sought the removal of a YouTube video that allegedly defamed the president and the deputy president.

The surge in the government’s requests for the takedown of online content coincides with the presidency of William Ruto, who was sworn in on September 13, 2022, after winning the presidential election in August 2022.

Ruto, who was previously the deputy president under Uhuru Kenyatta, has been accused of cracking down on dissent and media freedom, as well as facing allegations of corruption and human rights violations.

Ruto’s presidency has also been marked by political instability, as he faces opposition from his former allies, such as Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, who have formed a coalition to challenge his legitimacy and policies. Ruto has also faced resistance from some of his own party members, who have accused him of sidelining them and favoring his loyalists.

The increase in the government’s requests for the removal of online content suggests that Ruto is keen to control the narrative and silence any criticism or dissent that could undermine his authority or reputation.

However, this also raises concerns about the state of freedom of expression and access to information in Kenya, as well as the potential impact on the digital rights and privacy of its citizens.

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Lawrence Baraza

Lawrence Baraza is a dynamic journalist currently overseeing content at Metropol TV Digital. With a keen focus on business news and analytics, Lawrence guides the platform in delivering insightful, data-driven content that empowers its audience to make informed decisions. Lawrence’s commitment to quality and his ability to anticipate market trends make him a key figure in the digital media landscape. His work continues to shape the way business news is consumed, making a significant impact in the field.

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