Abraham Mutai, Adika Adeya, Article 33, Authority of a public officer, Court, Cyprian Nyakundi, Defamation, Democracy, Eddy Reuben Illah, Elijah Kinyanjui, Facebook, Free speech, Freedom of Expression, Geofrey Andare, Hashtags will not free our bloggers, Hatespeech, ICT related offences in Kenya, Ignorance is not a defence, Justice Louis Brandeis, Kenya, Kenya Information and Communication Act, Libel, Misuse of a licensed telecommunication system, Mutahi Ngunyi, Obscene Material, Penal Code, Robert Alai, Twitter, Waime Mburu, Whitney v California, Yassin Juma
‘Freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth’ Justice Louis Brandeis in Whitney v California (1927)
Free speech has previously been defined as the ‘right to defiantly, robustly and irreverently speak one’s mind just because it is one’s mind.’ It is one of the fundamental characteristics of a functional democracy. In the internet age, free speech translates to internet freedom, ability to put down one’s thoughts freely on the internet systems in order to pass information to the greatest number of people possible, without interference.
Well, trickling down to Kenya’s democratic scene, it is safe to conclude that ours is a partial democracy- fundamental rights such as the freedom of expression are continuously curtailed through a myriad of oppressive laws; and while it is correct to say that bloggers and social media opinion makers should protect this right, it is also true that ignorance of the law is not a defence and that hash tags will not release our favorite bloggers from prison- knowledge of the law will!
This post serves to create awareness on internet related offences that any social media user should be wary of.