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Mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders: Address to the Kenyan Government

REFERENCE: OL KEN 10/2017

26 July 2017

Excellency,

We have the honour to address you in our capacities as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 34/18 and 34/5. In this connection, we would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information we have received concerning the “Guidelines for Prevention of Dissemination of Undesirable Bulk Political SMS and Social Media Content via Electronic Communications Networks”, issued by the Kenya National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the Communications Authority of Kenya, and which entered into force in July 2017. The guidelines limit freedom of expression on political issues and may produce a direct impact on the work of civil society institutions, journalists and human rights defenders in ways that are incompatible with Kenya’s obligations under international human rights law. According to the information received: General elections in Kenya are scheduled for 8 August 2017. In the period leading up to the elections, significant levels of hate speech and incitement to hatred have been reported, notably through social media. In an effort to regulate this, Kenya National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the Communications Authority of Kenya prepared the “Guidelines for Prevention of Dissemination of Undesirable Bulk Political SMS and Social Media Content via Electronic Communications Networks” (“the guidelines”). A first version was circulated on 21 June 2017, and a final revised version was circulated in July 2017. This communication refers to the final version of the guidelines.

Read more at: OL_KEN_10_2017

 

 

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