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Why bloggers, social media users now have a reason to smile


Bloggers and social media users now have a reason to smile after the High Court declared as unconstitutional a section of the law that criminalises defamation.

Justice John Mativo on Monday ruled that Section 194 of the Penal Code violates the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under Article 33 of the supreme law of the land.

The ruling effectively ensures that bloggers and social media users will no longer be arrested and hauled to court for posts considered to be offending.

FINE, APOLOGY OR VINDICATION

And the outcome of such cases will only be fine and apology or vindication –not jail terms.

In the past, several bloggers have been hunted down by police and paraded in court with some ending up in prison.

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Two people charged separately with criminal defamation had sued challenging that law.

They sued Attorney-General Githu Muigai and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko while Article 19, an international freedom of expression advocate, was listed as an interested party in the case.

According to the judge, there is already an appropriate and satisfactory alternative remedy for defamation.

The ruling is a big win for media houses and journalists in Kenya.

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