kenya ban tiktok
Kenya's Supreme Court judges file into the chamber during the opening of the 11th Parliament in the capital Nairobi April 16, 2013. REUTERS/Noor Khamis (KENYA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXYNP5

The Kenyan Parliament is Considering a Ban on Tiktok

A call has been made by a petitioner for the members of the Kenyan parliament to take action against the popular social media platform TikTok, citing its potential role in the erosion of cultural and religious values within society.

Bob Ndolo, the Executive Officer of Bridget Connect Consultancy, submitted a formal petition to the National Assembly on Tuesday. In the petition, Ndolo urgently appealed to the MPs to institute a ban on the utilization of TikTok within the country, asserting that the platform is exposing the youth to explicit sexual content.

The petitioner expressed deep concern about the popularity of TikTok among the young demographic in Kenya. However, he contended that the content disseminated on the application is inappropriate, thereby contributing to the propagation of violence, explicit sexual material, hate speech, offensive language, and behavior. This, in turn, poses a serious threat to the nation’s cultural and religious principles.

One of Ndolo’s grievances is the lack of effective regulation of internet content by the Communications Authority of Kenya, making it difficult to monitor and control the material uploaded onto TikTok.

Ndolo’s petition further noted the intrusion into the privacy of minors by TikTok, which has led to various scandals.

In the event that TikTok is not proscribed within Kenya, Ndolo cautioned against the potential consequences. He asserted that the platform’s addictive nature could detrimentally impact academic performance and contribute to mental health issues among the youth, such as depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation.

Responding to the petition, Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa acknowledged the valid concerns raised by the petitioner. However, he argued against an outright ban on the application, noting that TikTok has generated employment opportunities for a significant portion of the youth. Ichung’wa recommended a focus on regulating app usage, age-appropriate content, and content uploaded for specific age groups.

Kirinyaga Woman Representative Njeri Maina concurred, pointing out the high unemployment rate among young people in Kenya. She suggested that while an outright ban might not be feasible, regulating the content posted on TikTok could address the concerns.

Nominated MP Irene Mayaka highlighted the limitations of banning TikTok, as individuals can access content from other countries using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). She emphasized the importance of parental monitoring of children’s online activities.

Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie defended TikTok, asserting that the responsibility for content consumption lies with users and their guardians, rather than the platform itself.

Ndhiwa MP Martin Owino emphasized the complexity of legislating morality, advocating for a balanced approach to the matter. He stressed the necessity of responsible control and regulation to protect children while acknowledging the challenges faced by parents in overseeing their children’s online activities.

The petition is set to undergo review by a committee, which will deliver its decision after a period of 60 days.

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