Kenyan leader signs cybercrimes bill into law

Kenya's president signs cybercrimes law opposed by media rights groups

Also targeted by the new law are WhatsApp group administrators who allow sharing of fake news or information meant to incite ethnic hatred.

The Act - which spells out stiff punishment to cybercriminals -provides for timely and effective detection, prohibition, prevention, response, investigation and prosecution of computer and cybercrimes.

Former Law Society of Kenya chief executive Apollo Mboya said the context of "false information" will give the authorities a free opportunity to gag the media. The bill also targeted those who alter information through Photoshop.

The clause says if a person "intentionally publishes false, misleading or fictitious data or misinforms with intent that the data shall be considered or acted upon as authentic", they can be fined up to 5 000 000 shilling (nearly R620 000) or imprisoned for up to two years.

Violations to be penalized under the law include cyber-espionage, false publications, child pornography, computer-borne forgery, cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying among others, the statement said, without spelling out the penalties.

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Parliament passed the Computer and Cyber Crimes Bill last month despite protests from the media that it could be abused to stifle press freedom.

The Act establishes the National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee and facilitates global co-operation in dealing with computer and cybercrime matters.

The offence leads to a fine not exceeding twenty million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twenty five years, or to both.

The Bills were presented to the President for signing by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, DP William Ruto, Aden Duale and others at State House on May, 16, 2018.

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