Popular Blogger Banned from Posting About Coronavirus

  • Blogger Robert Alai pictured outside the Milimani Law Courts where he was arraigned on March 23, 2020
    Blogger Robert Alai pictured outside the Milimani Law Courts where he was arraigned on March 23, 2020
    Twitter
  • A Nairobi court on Monday, March 23, barred popular blogger Robert Alai from publishing any information on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic after he was charged with circulating false information.

    After spending the weekend in jail, Alai was granted a Ksh50,000 cash bail and an alternative bond of Sh150,000 by Senior Resident Magistrate M. Ndungi who heard the case.

    Alai had denied all charges leveled against him of circulating alarmist, false information on the pandemic. 

    He allegedly published misleading information on Coronavirus-related deaths in Kenya on his Twitter page on March 19, 2020.

    Blogger Robert Alai (Right) at the Milimani Law Courts on June 19, 2019
    Blogger Robert Alai (Right) at the Milimani Law Courts on June 19, 2019
    Daily Nation

    In the post, Alai is alleged to have claimed that 2 deaths had been confirmed in Mombasa County as a result of the epidemic.

    His alleged actions were deemed a contravention of the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act of 2018.

    The government has severally warned of dire consequences to be faced by purveyors of fake news, particularly during the pandemic.

    "We will oblige them by taking them to Mbagathi Hospital where they can report the matter because that is where the issues of Coronavirus can be handled."

    "I want to appeal to members of the public to desist from any form of misinformation from social media.  We have heard people talking about locking down Nairobi, sending people home, deploying the military, things that have come from nowhere. These things must stop," Kagwe had told journalists.

    The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Sunday, March 15 arrested a man for allegedly circulating fake news on the Coronavirus, marking the first arrest over fake news circulation during the pandemic.

    Elijah Muthui Kitonyo, 23, was arrested for publishing a viral tweet that purported to expose the first confirmed Coronavirus patient in the country.

    The message claiming that 'patient zero' by the name Millicent Musau had landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) from Rome, Italy contrary to government reports that she travelled on March 5 from the United States via London, was widely circulated on platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp.

    The user behind the tweet warned Kenyans not to believe the government's 'lies' over the dreaded virus.

    Blogger Robert Alai in the dock during a past appearance at Milimani Law Courts
    Blogger Robert Alai in the dock during a past appearance at Milimani Law Courts
    Daily Nation