Internet and Law poster

The training to be held on Friday July 25 is free and open to all (Photo: BAKE).

The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) will hold a training on the law and internet in Nakuru next week on Saturday July 25. The training will be held at the American Corner at the Kenya National Library and is free and open to all.

The workshop will cover topics such as the legal system, defamation, criminal law process, communication laws and privacy. Other topics include confidentiality, intellectual property, consumer law and social media policies.

Mugambi Laibuta who is an advocate of the high court and Riva Jalipa of Article 19 will be the trainers.

The workshop comes at a time when there has been an increase in cases against persons who have allegedly used the internet as a platform for defamation and or hate speech.

The most recent case is that against journalist and lawyer Wahome Thuku who is said to have allegedly defamed Mukurweini Member of Parliament Kabando wa Kabando on Facebook. Last month mobile service provider Safaricom sued Cyprian Nyakundi, a blogger, for allegedly defaming it on his blog.

And in early this year, there were reported two cases in the two social media users were arrested for allegedly questioning two separate county governments. Abraham Kimutai was arrested for questioning alleged corruption in Isiolo County while Nancy Mbindalah was arrested for “undermining Embu governor, Martin Wambora”.

But the case the most memorable case is that of Moi University student Allan Wadi who was sentenced with two years imprisonment for spreading hate speech against President Uhuru Kenyatta, also on his Facebook. Wadi has since been released after a successful appeal.

All these cases show that there is a growing use of social media, not just for personal or private use but also for social justice courses, thus brushing some people in the wrong way. It is therefore critical that residents get training on responsible use of social media.

What makes users of social media (and that is, those who use it for social justice) vulnerable to making mistakes is that the platforms have no formal gatekeepers as is the case in mainstream media. Thus apart from checking on privacy, one of the other skills that such social media users need to trained on is the need to check and verify facts.

It will be noted that, in the past, while rushing to break an event, several persons including big media houses in the country have committed very grave mistakes on the internet. One such case was the case of the ‘killing’ of the late Njenga Karume before his real death. Recently former vice president Moody Awori was also ‘killed’ on the internet.

It will be important for social media enthusiasts in the county to come and learn about these many more issues about the latest trends on the use of the internet.