BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,13TH MAY,2021-The High Court has ruled that section 66 of the penal code violates the Constitution.
The code criminalises publishing of ‘alarming publications’ that are likely to cause panic and fear.
The case had been filed by blogger Cyprian Nyakundi.
“It is difficult for one to express himself or herself without violating the said provision,” Justice Weldon Korir ruled.
He noted that the said provision is too retrogressive to fit in a democratic country.
The Penal Code states that “[a]ny person who publishes any false statement, rumour or report which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb the public peace is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
A person found to have committed this offense is, on conviction, subject to a custodial sentence not exceeding two years and/or a fine.
The Code further states that “[i]t shall be a defence to a charge under [the “alarming publications” clause] if the accused proves that, prior to publication, he took such measures to verify the accuracy of the statement, rumour or report as to lead him reasonably to believe that it was true.”