Yesterday the Bloggers Association of Kenya released a report on the state of blogging and social media in Kenya 2015. The report seeks to highlight the significant gains made by bloggers and social media influencers in the promotion of free speech as well as in the creation of quality and diverse content about Kenya on the internet.
According to the report there are estimated 15,000 registered blogs in Kenya with 3,000 being active blogs on the WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr platforms and self-hosted.
Kenya has 700, 000+ monthly active users (MAUs) on Twitter at the moment.
There are 4.3 million Kenyan users on the Facebook platform; this is according to Facebook’s monetization platform.
Mobile Data and smart phone penetration
The total number of data/internet subscriptions stand at 16.4 million and the internet users are 26.1 million.
Creation of content
Blogging and social media have become effective tools through which Kenyans write on topics of interest to them as well as exercise their freedom of speech.
Consumption of Content
Social media platforms such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook have given Kenyans an easier way to access local content.
Blogging and social media is slowly becoming a viable business for many young people who are seeking careers in the digital space due to the lack of conventional blue collar jobs.
Reading culture and trends
The changing reading trends can be confirmed by the dip in sales of print newspaper by two of the leading Kenyan newspapers the Nation and the Standard
Publishing and release of news
Blogging has changed in the role of media in the society. It has encouraged citizen journalism and encouraged people to publish their thoughts online. It has also made the media step on in their efforts to deliver news in a timely number.
Blogs are a tool for whistle blowers to employ in exposing corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
Citizen Journalism in Kenya has not emerged from the kind of formal organization with institutional support such as has been the case in South Africa. Instead it has been spontaneous, perhaps even ‘indisciplined’.
There has been increasing pressure from government through the Communications Authority (CA) and the Media Council to regulate bloggers and subject them to the strict regulations for journalists.
The Law and Lack of Awareness of the Law
Bloggers and Social media users getting into trouble with law enforcement agencies: Of concern noted in the report is Section 132 of the Penal code that talks about the undermining authority of public office and misuse of licensed telecommunications equipment.
Many Kenyan bloggers and influencers are unaware of the existing Kenyan laws that touch on internet use, the freedoms provisioned for in the Kenyan Constitution 2010 as well as the limitations that are in the existing laws.
Value of online advertising
The value of online Kenyan advertising industry by the end of 2013 stood at Ksh.165 billion and this is forecast to rise to over Ksh.301 Billion by 2018. This is according to the Kenyan entertainment and media outlook:
2013 – 2017 report by PWC.
Arrest of Bloggers
The case of bloggers and people on social media being arrested because of what they post is an issue of concern. Clear definitions of what hate speech and causing annoyance mean according to the law need to be made.
Awareness should be created on what internet freedoms are. Also encourage advocates and educators to find out more on internet freedoms.
Insights courtesy of Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). This report was produced as part of BAKE’s iFreedoms Kenya program. You can download the report here. Find out more about Kenya Monitor which is a citizen journalism platform.