The CPJ has called on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta not to sign into law a cybercrimes bill because it will stifle press freedom. Picture: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

Johannesburg - The Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) has called on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta not to sign into law a cybercrimes bill that was recently passed by the National Assembly because it will stifle press freedom.

On April 26, 2018, the National Assembly approved the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill, 2017, which among other provisions, criminalises the publication of false news and stipulates hefty fines and lengthy prison terms for those found guilty of the offense.

In a statement on Thursday, CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal based in New York said: "Kenyan legislators have passed a wide-ranging bill that will criminalise free speech, with journalists and bloggers likely to be among the first victims if it is signed into law. 

"We urge President Kenyatta to refer it back to Parliament so that members can ensure that its provisions are constitutional and do not violate the right to media freedom and free expression."

African News Agency/ANA