Pornography in Kenya

Posted On November 28, 2015 , 12:00 AM Contador HarrisonPeriscope

Banning Kenyans from using their gadgets to browse information whether its pornography is obviously an intervention in private life.Such plans have also been mooted in conservative countries like Uganda, Zambia among others.To me, that is a violation of universal human rights, which demands that everyone has the right to communicate and retrieve information to develop themselves and their surroundings.As a consequence, Kenya government must respect Kenyan’s right to privacy and refrain from any forms of censorship.The state must not intrude into the private lives of citizens.Government that purports to block pornographic contents are in fact using such outdated thinking in censoring any opposition views toward the status quo.Once censorship on the Internet is implemented, censorship in other aspects of life will follow, and next we will be welcoming the adulteration of constitutions and its institutions. Back in the days, when I read about feminist theory, it was clear that a regulation over body and mind is a start to further regulation of civil and political freedom and thereby producing the “personal or social-political” phrase. Based on this phrase, personal or social is political, pornographic matters should be handled from a personal rather than political or social level.What business does the government has if people watches pornography?

Nairobi Skyline
Nairobi Skyline.Pic:CH Library

Censoring the Internet looks like trying to sweeten the ocean, which is impossible to do. There are millions of porn sites on the Internet, and there are many other channels for pornography to intrude into Kenyans lives.So, for Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for information Fred Matiangi to dream that he can achieve anything, I want to inform him and others across the continent that they cannot block all pornographic materials. Moreover, there is always a chance for blocked content to still be accessed no matter what.Even the most advanced Internet censors in the name of China,people still access Google mails and YouTube even though they are blocked from the country.Therefore, the success rate in preventing pornography, from the political side, is very low. Looking at the size of the Communications and Information Technology Ministry in Kenya, this would be an impossible task.Not even more technologically advanced South Africa can manage. Excessive efforts to suppress pornography will put civil freedom of Kenyans in danger. Therefore,Kenya should handle pornographic matters from a personal and individual consciousness level.Kenyan government must instead focus its program on providing wider access to the Internet all over the country.Based on Google trends search, countries with strict moral policies are precisely the same countries that have the highest rate of citizens accessing porn content. Topping the list in African countries that have searched “sex” as the keyword the most are South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia. In case of Ethiopia, this is proof that strict moral policy would not be effective.

Instead of censorship, Kenya should provide young people with sex education and instruction on how to use the Internet wisely.The young Kenyan generation should be empowered in dealing with their sexuality and obtaining information related to the issue of sexual and reproductive health and rights from credible sources.The fact is that young people become curios about sex and porn materials because they lack credible information on this matter.Therefore, discussion about sexuality should be opened to youths, particularly by their parents, to make them better understand and respect their bodies. Sexuality is not a taboo. Making sex taboo is like calling the existence of life taboo. Research has revealed that children whose parents talk with them about sexual matters or provide sex education or contraceptive information at home are more likely than others to postpone sexual activities.The children have fewer sexual partners and are more likely to use contraceptives such as condoms.They are at reduced risk for pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases than young people whose parents do not engage in open communication about sexual matters. A recently survey conducted study in Kenya shows that around 60 percent of teenagers in Nairobi and Mombasa have been sexually active.The lack of information and ignorance of this phenomenon amounts to a disaster for youths as it will spark unwanted pregnancies and spread the HIV/AIDS epidemic.It must be formulated in a specific curriculum to ensure that Kenyan youths have knowledge about their bodies and sexuality, and can thereby act make more responsible choices.