Personal Finance

Privacy rights and harsh court of public opinion

privacy law
Some illegalities take place due to lack of awareness. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A blogger recently published chats from a whatsapp group called, “Boys Club” which a local top entertainer is allegedly a member of. The whatsapp group was formed by friends who bragged about their fiestas. The members would allegedly post pictures of their escapades and also post pictures of the girls they had been with.

The publication of the posts did not only damage the reputation of the “Boys Club “ but also damaged the reputation of the girls whose pictures had been posted. The publication led its victims to the court of public opinion where the victims were tried unheard and sentenced to mockery and ridiculed in the eyes of the public.

Just a week later, a scandalous video of an enraged wife was doing rounds on whatsapp. It is apparent that the video was taken by the husband and shared with a third party without the wife’s consent.

All the above are examples of breach of privacy and image rights which happens a lot in Kenya. Many laws are broken in the name of entertainment and news. With increased usage of social media it has become even easier to breach another’s privacy rights.

If the “Boys Club“ filed a suit against the blogger they would win it easily as there is a glaring breach of their privacy rights. The “Boys Club” members are also not innocent as they breached the privacy rights of the girls they had purportedly been with.


Article 31 (d) of the Constitution protects the privacy of communications. The women whose pictures were posted on the group had their image rights breached. This case is very illustrative of how privacy rights are commonly breached in Kenya while the persons who infringe on the rights move on scot free.

The blogger committed an illegality and if he were sued, he would end up paying a lot in form of damages given the profile of the persons.

This is not to say I am taking sides in the matter, my only interest here is to uphold the law and what is right.

In the second video, a man took a video of his enraged wife and the video went “viral.” It was so scandalous, especially because the couple are bishops in a certain church.

The husband was wrong and committed an illegality by sharing a video of his wife without her consent which I doubt she would have given.

Their case is special as the two are married, But in the event someone takes a scandalous video of you and shares it without consent then you can file for damages.

In the case of Roshanara Ebrahim v Ashleys Kenya Limited and three others, the court upheld the privacy rights of a former beauty queen against her ex-boyfriend. The facts were such that the ex-boyfriend shared her nudes with the pageant organisers who went ahead to dethrone her. The court found that the ex-boyfriend had breached her privacy rights and therefore her constitutional rights.

I believe that these illegalities take place due to lack of awareness. Some people are not aware that their actions are illegal. However there is a way to recover if you find your reputation damaged due to privacy breaches. One is to have the offender remove the materials. You can sue them If they refuse, seeking orders to compel them to do so. You can also file a suit to recover the damage caused by the offence.