Comment deadline looms on SMS hate speech
Stakeholders have until 27 August to comment on draft guidelines to curb SMS hate speech ahead of the next election.
In a document entitled ‘Guidelines for prevention of transmission of undesirable bulk political messages content via cellular mobile networks’, CCK proposes a range of measures to prevent inflammatory SMS messages being sent out.
CCK, in consultation with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP), the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) among other stakeholders, developed the draft guidelines for the telecommunications industry geared towards preventing transmission of undesirable content and/or hate messages via bulk short messaging services (SMS).
Among the proposed measures, political messages may only be delivered through licensedCSPs with direct inter-operability agreements with an MNO. Prior to sending a political message, CSPs shall make a request to an MNO at least 48 hours hours before sending the message.
The MNO will then vet the content for compliance with the guidelines, and has the right to refuse to transmit the message if it in inflammatory, inciting or otherwise in violation of the law.
In addition, a political message must bear the name of the political party or individual disseminating it; and it may not contain offensive, threatening, abusive, insulting, obscene or profane language or expose an individual or group of individuals to violence, hatred, hostility, discrimination or ridicule on the basis of ethnicity, tribe, race, colour, religion, gender or otherwise.
Failure to comply with any of the guidelines may lead to suspension of the interoperability agreement between the MNO and CSP pending determination by the CCK and/or the Law Court.
The full draft guidelines may be viewed via this link on the CCK website: http://www.cck.go.ke/links/consultations/current.html