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New data rules force ministries, counties to update websites

By Frankline Sunday | August 11th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Government agencies and State departments will be required to upload public information online on a daily basis as the government moves to make data accessible to Kenyans. 

This is according to the National Information Communications and Technology Policy Guidelines 2020 released by ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru (pictured) last week.

"All government data, except as exempt by Section 6 of the Access to Information Act, 2016, will be made available to all Kenyans online,” explains the policy.

Public officials in the central and county governments will also be required to ensure their websites are accessible to people living with disabilities, conform to one standard and are updated daily at a minimum. 

"All public government content will be indexed and searchable through a public common interface,” explains the document in part. “All government sites and data to be crawled daily, at a minimum.” 

The new guidelines spell out the State policy objective for the next five years and come at a time the public sector is hard-pressed to maintain service-delivery. The spread of the Covid-19 has put the spotlight on the public sector’s shortcomings in using technology to deliver services and information to citizens. 

At the same time, National and County government websites will exclusively use the .ke domain with the industry regulator Communications Authority of Kenya expected to enforce the requirement. 

If fully implemented, the guidelines would achieve the goal that was intended for the Kenya Open Data Portal, the project launched by former president Mwai Kibaki in 2012 and meant to centralise all government data. Over the years, the portal has stayed dormant and unused as public officials shy away from releasing and updating the information. 

The National Information Communications and Technology Policy Guidelines 2020 further intends to restructure the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) to ensure its relevance and viability in today’s market.


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