“Successful prosecution of hate speech can help stop it, but the success depends on getting water-tight evidence, which is never easy due to the difference in interpreting what has been said,” she told IRIN. Lack of such evidence led to charges being dropped against three politicians accused of using hate speech during a 2010 referendum on a new constitution. The 2008 law defines hate speech as that which advocates or encourages violent acts against a specific group, and creates a climate of hate or prejudice, which may, in turn, foster the commission of hate crimes. Part of the problem in enforcing this act is that “this definition is broad [so] providing evidence that passes the prosecutorial threshold is somewhat difficult” according to Abdullah Boru Halakhe, Horn of Africa analyst at the International Crisis Group. “Where can we draw the line between what constitute hate speech and infringement of freedom of expression?” he asked.

IRIN Africa | Analysis: Taming hate speech in Kenya

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