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Economy

Cohesion team probes 250 suspects linked to social media hate messages

Kenyans have been warned against posting or sharing hate messages on social media. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kenyans have been warned against posting or sharing hate messages on social media. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) is investigating 250 people for posting hate messages on their social media platforms.

Vice chairperson Irene Wanyoike said stern action would be taken against those found to have misused their Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp accounts to stir up ethnic animosity.

Speaking in Nairobi, the NCIC official said 27 other suspects had been charged and their cases were pending.

Ms Wanyoike warned Kenyans against posting or sharing hate messages on social media because police officers and the NCIC officials were monitoring hate bloggers with help of the public.

She added that 2,000 police officers had been trained and equipped to record hate speeches against other communities.

The agency, she added, had also hired 120 monitors based in various parts of the country to trail the “hatemongers” and collect information for scrutiny. The materials found to contain hate speech are forwarded to police for action.

Lawyer Mercy Mutemi said crackdown on social media incitement should also be extended to fake news.

“It begins with fake news that generates hate-filled messages discussed passionately by people who share similar sentiments and eventually it risks triggering incitement that could erupt into full-blown violence,” she said.

Ms Mutemi said social media associated with fake news had made the online platforms lose their integrity as trusted business platforms.

“The major media houses must fight fake news by all means to restore confidence in their outlets,” she said.

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