NCIC conducts media training for hate speech monitoring on social media

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission(NCIC) on Thursday hosted journalists in Naivasha to discuss effective methods of hate speech monitoring on social media, in the lead up to the elections in August.

This is after extensive research by NCIC showed that hate speech is the most common form of hate crime committed in Kenya.

“We implore upon all Kenyans to use social media platforms in peacebuilding through amplifying peaceful voices, countering fake news, hate speech, misinformation and disinformation,” said Eng. Hon. Phillip Okundi, one of NCIC’s commissioners.

The research also revealed that among the perpetrators of hate speech, politicians account for 49% of reported cases, bloggers account for 15%, and religious leaders account for 2%.

The research further showed that 71% of the perpetrators are male, while 29% are female.

James Wanyande, an NCIC Senior Legal officer on his part enlightened the participants on matters hate speech, what constitutes hate speech, freedom of expression and its limitations.

Wanyende also highlighted some of the challenges the commission faces in dealing with hate speech offenders, ranging from budget constraints to constitutional hindrances, such as the commission’s inability to bar politicians found guilty of spewing hate or incitement from seeking elective positions. The commission has been trying to lobby for an amendment of it’s Act to have more comprehensive impact, but will little succes due to pushback from lawmakers

In addition, the legal officer emphasized the need for a conversation around alternative dispute resolution in light of the above constitutional hindrances.

Journalists participating in the forum also discussed their experiences and highlighted some of the challenges they face while combating hate speech online.

The scribes noted among other issues limited resources, limited manpower and social media monitoring as the main challenges they face.

Some of the journalists also noted that the lack of necessary skills to effective scrape analyse and flag hate speech from social media data as being another major issue.


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