Olive: The Computer Misuse Act Has Marked The Death Of Journalism And Free Speech



The Fatboy Show Presenters Olive Najjuma and James Onen aka Fatboy, have deemed the recently passed Computer Misuse Act as a law aimed at curtailing people’s freedom of speech and journalism.


The Computer Misuse Act, which was assented to by the President last week, holds that a person shall not write, send or share any information that is likely to ridicule/ degrade/ demean another person.


“These are very subjective sets of words. How does someone feel ridiculed because criticism may feel like someone is ridiculing or degrading you? If I say that a Minister is useless in their role, have I demeaned them, and am I liable to prosecution?” asked James Onen a presenter on the show.


Olive Najjuma, the co-host, responded that anything can be demeaning if it questions the work of public officials.


“Now we shall walk around on eggshells because we fear people’s emotions. So we can’t call out our leaders about the gaps in their constituencies because we have to get their consent before we can write anything about them. If you ask me what it means for free speech in our country, I believe that first, it is the death of journalism,” said Olive,


Discussing consent before using a picture of someone, Fatboy surmised that that could be the death of memes and citizen journalism which sometimes brings criminals to justice.


Where the law states that a person shall not send/ share or transmit any misleading or malicious information about or relating to any person through a computer, Fatboy wondered whether that isn’t the death of political discourse.


“Most times, politicians are seen throwing mud at each other and accusing themselves of theft and corruption. Most of us had accepted this as power for the course, since its politics but now if one person deems the information as malicious or misleading, sometimes a person won’t get all the facts right and will get in trouble under this law,”


The two presenters expressed their worry about the law, saying it paints a broad brush regarding all kinds of online communication. They professed that social media is about to become a boring place that will have no debate about sensitive topics.


The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, and Sarah every weekday from 6 am to 10 am on RX Radio.


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