Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday signed into law a sweeping cyber-crimes act criminalising fake news and online bullying.
The new law imposes a $50,000(about Ugx. 180m), fine and ten year in jail on people who share false information electronically.
Those who spread child pornography are liable for a fine of up to $200,000 and a 25-year jail sentence. False information, spread on social media, played a significant part in last year’s election.
The bill imposes stiff fines and jail terms for hacking, computer fraud, forgery of data, cyber espionage, publishing child pornography or sending pornographic content via any electronic means.
The Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ) last week urged Kenyatta not to sign the bill, arguing it would make it easy for authorities to gag journalists publishing information they dislike.
“Kenyan legislators have passed a wide-ranging bill that will criminalise free speech, with journalists and bloggers likely to be among the first victims if it is signed into law,” said CPJ’s Africa coordinator, Angela Quintal.