The Internet and The Constitution: Press Freedom

In the new Constitution freedom and independence of electronic, print and all other types of media is guaranteed, but does not extend to propaganda for war, incitement to violence, hate speech or advocacy of hatred that constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others or incitement to cause harm or is discriminatory.[1]

Furthermore, the state shall not exercise control over or interfere with any person engaged in broadcasting, the production or circulation of any publication or the dissemination of information by any medium.[2]Consequently, nobody is subject to penalty for any opinion or view or the content of any broadcast, publication or dissemination.[3]Broadcasting and other electronic media have freedom of establishment, subject only to licensing procedures that  are necessary to regulate the airwaves and other forms of signal distribution andare independent of control by government, political interests or commercial interests.[4]

The previous constitution did not bear any express reference to the ‘press’ or ‘the media’. However, even in the absence of an express reference to the term ‘media’ or ‘press’, section 79 of the previous Constitution guaranteed that “no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, that is to say, freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information without interference (whether the communication be to the public generally or to any person or class of persons).

In this technology saturated world , one cannot assume matters relating to the Internet and since the constitutions describe  the degree and extent  of power which human beings should exercise  over each other in the process of governance, it is tantamount that there are clear provisions on the constitution regarding the same . Further there should legislations to re-enforce the provisions in the constitution

[1] Article 34 (1) of the Kenyan Constitution 2010.

[2] Article 34 (2) of the Kenya Constitution 2010.

[3] Article 34 (2) (b) of the Kenya Constitution 2010.

[4] Article 34 (3) of the Kenya Constitution 2010.


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