Mercy Mutemi, lawyer, Kenya

“The training workshop was an inspiration which built on and expanded my knowledge on topics regarding freedom of expression and its relation to the internet.” 

Mercy Mutemi is a Kenyan lawyer who came to a  litigation workshop run by BAKE, the Bloggers Association of Kenya, in partnership with MLDI. Mercy already had an interest in information, communications and technology (ICT) and the laws and policies that govern the use of the internet.  “The training workshop was an inspiration which built on and expanded my knowledge on topics regarding freedom of expression and its relation to the internet.”

After the training Mercy intends to take up more cases on issues regarding freedom of expression. “There is a need and opportunity for more legislative interventions. With my legislative background, I hope to help formulate policies in the ICT sector especially on online freedoms.”

“The current Computer and Cybercrimes Bill has many loosely framed offences and aims to further limit freedom of expression. In the manner in which some of the offences are framed, many bloggers and social media influencers will get arrested. I have been working to push a memorandum in parliament and encourage public participation regarding the bill. Individuals in the ICT sector understand the issues pertaining to freedom of expression. The legislative arm of the government unfortunately may not understand what this entails. They are more focused on the security aspect of the internet. To improve the bill and future legislation it is necessary to improve the understanding of lawmakers on digital rights and the protection of freedom of expression through more engagement with parliament”.

Mercy also works on another issue important to her, “It is important to address cyber bullying and there is a need for legislation to protect victims who face harassment online.”

“This training opportunity was an eye opener regarding the effects of current policies on the freedom of expression, right to privacy and the rights of arrested persons, which affects bloggers and those who use the internet especially as per constitutional litigation.”

This project was part of Media Defence’s training and capacity building programme, which aims to develop the skills and experiences of lawyers in order to defend the right to freedom of expression. 

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