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Vernacular radio stations warned over hate speech

By - | Mar 27th 2013 | 2 min read

By Rawlings Otieno

Nairobi, Kenya: The National Steering Committee on Media Monitoring has claimed that Radio stations are propagating hate speech on their online platforms.

The committee has now warned that those Radio stations will be prosecuted and their licences revoked.

Director of Public Communications Mary Ombara said that messages written in vernacular languages are abusive and derogatory to other communities.

“We have noted that there is a tendency to post items on radio websites which border on hate speech that have been written in vernacular languages and are abusive to the other communities,” said Ombara.

Already the excerpts of the downloaded hate speech material are before the Communications Commissions of Kenya (CCK) and awaits translation before the radio stations face the law.

Speaking during a weekly press briefing in Nairobi on Wednesday, the National committee on media monitoring said that the radio stations are trying to fuel hate speech through the back door.

At the same time they disclosed that at least eight new bloggers have been identified and are under investigations before they face criminal charges according to the National Cohesion and Integration Act of 2008.

This comes in the wake of an arrest of six bloggers on Tuesday over media content that borders on hate speech and derogatory languages used against different ethnic communities in Kenya.

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Vice Chair Millie Lwanga while maintaining that Kenyans have the right to engage in social media, said care must be taken to ensure the rights of others are not prejudiced during the enjoyment of the freedoms enshrined in the constitution.

She said that all those engaged in social media should verify any messages of political nature that they receive through short text messages (SMS) before making any postings.

“We wish to caution all Kenyans engaging in social media to verify any messages of a political nature that they receive before making any postings. Kenyans should be left to engage in the social media but should not prejudice the rights of others,” said Lwanga.

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