Bill to impose heavy fines on pornography

It will be criminal to publish pornographic content and terror information on the internet targeting the youth and underage if a Bill proposing to impose hefty penalties is approved by Parliament.

The proposal also seeks to prohibit young people from accessing extremists’ groups or terror sites that will cause them to join or participate in unlicensed and extreme religious or cult activities.

The draft Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes (Amendment), 2020, sponsored by Garissa Town MP Adan Duale, which is due for publication by parliament, seeks to address the issue of moral decay among the young people with the liberalization of the internet by slapping offenders with a Sh20million fine or imprisonment not exceeding 25 years or both.

It seeks to restrict sites that are likely to cause persons to commit suicide or any harm to themselves.

In this case, pornography includes any data whether visual or audio that depicts a person engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

The proposed law wants possession of pornography restricted to access by a certain age.

“A person who contravenes the same, commits an offense and is liable, on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh20million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 25 years, or both,” reads the Bill.

It will be an offence if a person knowingly produces pornography.

Just like pornography, it will be a serious offense to promote or circulate content that promotes terrorism.

“A person who publishes or transmits electronic messages that are likely to cause other person to join or participate in terrorist activities, commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh5million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or both,” reads the Bill.

The Bill however gives a window for defense if it is for the good of the public.

“It shall be a defense to a charge for an offence where a publication is proved to be justified as being for the public good on the grounds that the book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, art, representation or figure is in the interest of science, literature, learning or other objects of general concerns,” it reads.

According to Duale, the proposed law will be popular among religious groups as it seeks to protect young people from immoral exposure.

“Countries like Dubai and China have restricted these sites denying users of certain age access through phones and computers,” explained the former National Majority leader.

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