NATIONAL COHESION AND INTEGRATION COMMISSION (NCIC)
NCIC Press Statement
Presented at the Launch of the
National Steering Committee on Election Monitoring
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) is honoured to be part of the National Steering Committee on Election Monitoring.
When it was established under the National Cohesion and Integration (NCI) Act 2008, enacted after the 2007 post-election crisis and the subsequent political negotiations, the NCIC’s objectives and purpose, as provided for in section 25 of the Act, is to facilitate and promote equality of opportunity, good relations, harmony and peaceful co-existence between persons of the different ethnic, racial communities of Kenya, and to advise the Government on all aspects thereof.
Section 13 of the NCI Act states that a person commits an offence if they:-
- Use threatening, abusive, insulting words or actions;
- Display, publish or distribute written material,
- Present, direct, provide or produce a programme
Intending to stir up ethnic hatred or having regard to all circumstances ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up.
Guidelines On Hate Speech Monitoring
In line with its mandate, the Commission was required to develop guidelines for media houses on hate speech as per provisions of the NCI Act. This led to the development of various strategies namely tools such as guidelines on monitoring hate speech, particularly in the electronic media in Kenya; definition of what Hate Speech is all about and how to file a complaint to the Commission (cf: NCIC website).
Since the media plays a vital role in promoting freedom of expression and equality, NCIC felt that it was imperative that the Commission continuously engages with the media practitioners namely the correspondents, journalists, editors and media owners in the development of Guidelines On hate speech. This is because by that time the Commission had already started receiving reports that started to raise concerns on the role of the local FM stations (especially vernacular radio stations) that were seen to be participating in incitement to hatred through their programming and reporting.
Unfortunately, this has almost earned us a nickname where people refer to us as the “Hate Commission”, but today I wish to reaffirm to you that the guidelines underscore the commitment by NCIC to firmly address negative ethnicity and thereby provide an enabling environment for building nationhood by linking all sections and laws relating to media and hate speech namely the Constitution’s Article 33 (2), the Penal Code’s Section 96 and 77 and the Media Act.
MOU, Workshops and Conferences
NCIC has signed an MOU with the Media Council of Kenya to collaborate in elections ‘media monitoring: of hate speech. The commissioners’ have also held countless sensitization workshops and National Conferences to unpack Hate Speech. Specifically, a major conference was held in June 2010, bringing together law enforcement officers, media practitioners and other key stakeholders to discuss the process of navigating hate speech in the face of freedom of expression a head of the Referendum Elections.
Another major workshop has also just been concluded in Naivasha bringing together over fifty leaders from all the registered political parties. Carried out in collaboration with IEBC and NDI, the workshop sensitized political parties’ leaders to employ election
campaign strategies that are devoid of hate speech, and that seek to