Political Parties banned from sending vernacular messages


Political parties have been banned from sending bulk phone text messages and premium rate content in vernacular.

This is part of the new regulations by the Government to stem hate messages through SMSs and social media during the electioneering period.

According to the guidelines issued by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), bulk and premium content by political parties shall be communicated in English and Kiswahili only.

This comes at a time when politicians are on the homestretch for the August 8 General Election.

The two State agencies moved swiftly to prevent politicians from turning social media platforms into hate-mongering forums.

Under the new stringent regulations, content service providers (CSPs) will need to provide mobile network operators (MNOs) with an authorisation letter from the political party in what is designed to lock out hatemongers.

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New rules

So stringent are the new rules that political parties, currently in overdrive as they canvass for votes, will need to wait as long as four days before publishing their messages, which must undergo a rigorous vetting process.

“Prior to sending a political message, CSPs shall make a request to an MNO/MVNO at least forty-eight (48) hours before sending the message,” read part of the regulations.

MNOs and MVNOs have at least 18 hours to give a decision after receiving the request. [Dominic Omondi]

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