Bloggers in the country have gotten a relief, albeit temporary, after a High Court judge suspended some sections of the recently passed Cyber Crimes Bill 2018 on Tuesday.
Justice Chacha Mwita suspended 25 sections of the controversial law, which is supposed to come into effect on May 30.
“Pending the hearing and determination of this application inter partes, a conservatory order does issue suspending the coming into Force of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018 and in particular the coming into force of Sections 5.16.17,22,23,24,27,28,29,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,48,49,50,51,52 & 53 of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018.”
The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) had moved to court to argue that the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act was a threat to freedom of expression and will be misused to sensor information that paints “offenders” in bad light.
According to Bake the 39.4 million internet users in the country are at risk of being prosecuted if the law is allowed to stand due to the vagueness of the provisions and offences it creates.
In their application, the association points out sections on fake news, harassment and unauthorised interference among others as the contentious clauses.
According to the Cyber Crime law, publishing of false or fictitious information will attract a Sh5 million fine or a two-year jail term.
The Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act was recently assented to by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The law criminalises among other things social media bullying removing the legal lacuna that existed. The crime will attract sh 20 million fine or 10 years jail term. Hackers have also been tackled in the Cybercrimes Bill with the crime attracting a fine of sh 10 million or a five year jail term.
The new law also contains stiff penalties on child pornography, computer forgery, and espionage among others.
The case will be heard on July 18.