Factors affecting hate speech control for peace building in Kenyan social media. A case of Kenyan bloggers
According to statistics of The Agrigator, which is Africa’s main blog aggregator website, Kenya has the third largest number of blogs in Africa led by South Africa then Nigeria with an approximate number of 9,183 and 1,351 respectively with Kenya having an approximate of 739 blogs. Blogs are emerging as sources of vital information from breaking news, politics, analysis and commentaries to personal diaries and gossip. Blogs do not come without risks to hate speech propagation due to its real time nature, anonymity and freedom of speech to both the blogger and the subscriber. This study investigated hate speech control for peace building in Kenyan social media. A case of Kenyan bloggers. It was based on three objectives hate speech monitoring and control tools, hate speech sensitization and hate speech laws. The studies theoretical framework was guided byJeremy Waldon’s systematic framework for legal regulation of hate speech. First, he argues that the "harm" associated with "hate speech" has nothing to do with the motives of the speaker, and everything to do with the message conveyed and the damage that message does in a democratic society predicated on equal citizenship. Second, Waldron argues that written defamation matters much more than the spoken word. As he puts it, "libel is much more serious because the imputations it embodies take a more permanent form. Research design applied was descriptive where data was collected using structured questionnaire and analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The target population comprised of bloggers in Kenya that included 85 bloggers listed in 18 categories out of which a sample of 70 bloggers were selected through stratification of 18 stratas and random sampling was done for each strata. A questionnaire was used to collect data while statistical package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze data. According to the findings, majority of the respondents disagreed with the monitoring and control tools used to monitor hate speech at 47.6% while 42.37% advocate for context analysis of flagged speech before being branded as hate speech. More than half of the respondents at 52.54% did not agree to removal of content by commercial internet service providers hence there was a small positive correlation between hate speech monitoring and control tools and hate speech control. Majority of the respondents strongly agreed and agreed at an average of 34%.11 and 35.59 % respectively and only 6.57% of the responses were strongly disagreed to level of hate speech sensitization. 69.49% agreed to understand what constitutes hate speech hence a strong correlation between sensitization and hate speech control. There was a general mixed reaction to questions regarding use of law to control hate speech in Kenyan social media 30.08% of the respondents agreed while 31.76% of the respondents disagreed hence an indication the correlation between the two variables as a moderate positive correlation. The Key recommendations of the study is that there should be clear definitions of what constitutes hate speech and ‘causing annoyance’ as grounds for taking legal action against individuals and the circumstances and laws under which individuals are charged over their online activities should be clarified.