On 12 December 2008, while Kenya celebrated the 44th anniversary of its independence, journalists and civil society activists took to the streets. They were protesting the publication of the Kenya Communications Amendment Bill (2007), which was later signed into law. While the media had various objections to the Bill, the amended Act was embraced by the communications sector as a whole. This was largely because it introduced a raft of new laws recognising cyber crime, introducing digital signatures and creating the much-needed Universal Services Fund (USF).
This report unpacks this mixed reception to the Act, outlining the media’s objections as well as the government’s response, and contextualising the tension between the two historically. At the same time, it asks whether the sector’s positive response to the Act was misplaced, given some worrying inconsistencies and omissions.