Kenyans found guilty of sharing fake news on social media platforms will now be fined Ksh5 Million or a two-year jail sentence after President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill 2017 on Wednesday.
The Bill that has now become law has eliminated a vacuum in the laws of Kenya that was presented by the advent and evolution of social media platforms in recent years.
"A person who intentionally publishes false, misleading or fictitious data or misinforms with intent that the data shall be considered or acted upon as authentic, with or without any financial gain, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh5 Million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both," the new law states in part.
The law also targets those who publish child pornography with a fine of Ksh20 Million shillings, 25 years in jail or both.
Hackers will also face the full force of the law as it outlines a 10-year sentence and/or Ksh20 Million fine for Computer Forgery.
"A person who intentionally inputs, alters, deletes or surpasses computer data, resulting in inauthentic data with the intent that it be considered or acted upon for legal purposes as if it were authentic, regardless of whether or not the data is directly readable and intelligible commits an offence," the new law stipulates.
While presenting it to the National Assembly, Majority Leader Aden Duale outlined that it had been long overdue.
"This bill is long overdue in Kenya. It was put together borrowing from international best practices. We will ask MPs and Kenyans to support it," he stated.
ICT expert Godfrey Osotsi also welcomed the new law pointing out that it would help in dealing with cyberbullying that has become rampant in Kenya.
"Cybercrime is real and cybercrime is big; it is estimated that annually the whole world losses about Sh60 Trillion: the crime is real and the law ought to have been in place like yesterday," he told The Standard.