The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) has this week launched the State of Internet in Kenya 2016 report. The report which is the second such report to be launched by BAKE maps out the internet landscape in Kenya. It also documents significant events that have taken place in the last one year.
The report was launched under the iFreedoms Kenya Project which seeks to promote human rights and media rights online. Fittingly, freedom of expression online took center stage in the past year with at least 60 incidences of bloggers and journalist being arrested. In most of the instances they were presented in court but for the most part were arrested on Friday and released on Monday in a bid to intimidate them.
However, the declaration of section 29 of the Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA) as unconstitutional came as a welcome relief to the online community. Since then Police and senior government have tried to find new ways of legally intimidating bloggers and other Kenyans online. At the moment two sections of the penal code that is Section 132 and Section 194 remain the ones still in use but there are pending constitutional determinations in the High Court.
The report also highlights the growth of blogging as a profession in Kenya this can be seen on the growth of niche specific blogs and employment in the sector. This can be seen in the growth of lifestyle, business and creative writing blogs while political and entertainment faced a decline in readership. Growth in the blogging sector has also seen an increase in intellectual property rights cases whereby content creators have seen their content being used without their consent.
Social Media and the internet in general as we all know has played an essential role in transforming lives and providing public interest news and most importantly held the powers that be into account. However, there are those who are calling for its regulation raising fears that there might be an internet shut down during next year’s elections. The acquisition of a spy software FinFisher by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) with the ability to monitor and even bring down web platforms is a course for concern.
You can download the full report here.