Social media administrators in Kenya could soon be required to obtain licenses before setting up groups if a Bill sponsored by Malava MP Malulu Injendi is passed.

The Bill also proposes that Facebook and Whatsapp group administrators should be jailed for allowing users to publish offensive content.

The administrators will be required to obtain permission from the CA to set up groups on social media and control the discussions therein.

“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.” The bill states.

“Any person who contravenes the provision of this section commits an offense and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh200,000 or to an imprisonment of a term not exceeding one year.” the bill reads.

The bill also proposes that bloggers obtain a permit from the Communications Authority (CA) to operate. Bloggers, who are described as persons involved in “collecting, writing, editing and presenting of news or news articles on social media platforms or on the internet” will be required to register with the CA. They will be listed in the regulator’s Bloggers’ registry which will be subject to a Bloggers’ code of conduct, the bill proposes.

Those found in contravention of the requirements will be liable to a jail term of up to two years or a fine not exceeding Sh500,000.

“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 CA to develop a Bloggers’ code of conduct in consultation with the bloggers.”

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