Caroline Mutoko, Allow me to School You on Hate Speech through Social Media

Posted In Social Media - By robertalai On Monday, January 30th, 2012 With 51 Comments

Kenyans online Caroline Mutoko, Allow me to School You on Hate Speech through Social Media

I am doing this post here because it is all about hate speech on social media.

First let me quote Maya Angelou;

“We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.”

On her column on The Star, radio presenter Caroline Mutoko bitterly attacks Kenyans on social networks regarding hate speech. Mutoko refers to most Kenyans using social media as “myopic and with little else”. He writings is full of all manner of negative adjectives she uses to describe Kenyans on social media. By the end of paragraph 3 of he column, you get the drift. Mutoko’s real beef is not with “hate speech on social media” but really she wish that someone contained the rise of social media because it makes her powerless unlike before when Kenyans had to rely on her to have the leaders address their issues.

Kenyans on social media are from the same mothers and fathers who begot Mutoko. Some of them are CEOs, radio presenters, ICT geeks or just enthusiasts whose actions online does not deserve such tirades from Mutoko or anyone else. You cannot generalise everyone online and then use words like “numbskulls” and “small-minded”, you get to wonder if this lady really knows what she is talking about. Mutoko is so yesteryear because the numbskulls and small-minded nincompoops online decided so. She will not determine to us when we need to hold Martha Karua, Raila, Uhuru, Ruto or Kibaki to task. She lost that power because Safaricom now serves up 95% of the 4.7 million internet  users meaning that this is a key constituency of smart Kenyans who will not have to rely on Mutoko or whoever to get what they want.

These people had to depend on FM stations 95% of the times just few years ago. Now for every one hour this group spend to listen to radio stations, they spend a further 4.3 hours on social media to get the facts rights by comparing notes with their friends or getting news online. This constituency worries Mutoko because despite Kiss FM being one of the few stations to go online, they terminated their streaming services saying that they thought that internet would eat on their influence.  Kiss FM and Radio Africa in general is still very cagey about the internet. That is why all news on The Star would not be available online until a day or two later. They believe that by breaking news online, they kill the paper copy. The same argument they apply over streaming their shows online. It is so arachaic and ignorant you wonder which century the editors at Radio Africa lives

Some lecture to Mutoko, being on radio does not equate you to being smarter than the average kenyan. You might just be as dumb and ignorant as you are now even if you have been exposed on radio that much. Sometimes exposure does not help because you are so thick and proud in your dumb self that you don’t want to listen to the innocent advise from a mama mboga participating in a call-in session.

Calling Kenyans on social media “lazy numbskulls” just because they “have not ignited a revolution equal to the Arab spring” is simply foolish and pedestrian. What revolution do you want in Kenya? Do the Kenyans on social media share your desire for a revolution. Kenyans on social media are a bit much more smarter than the poor slum and village dwellers whom the likes of Caroline Mutoko and Joshua Sang can incite to kill and maim anyone.

Just like most Kenyans are “small-minded” , Mutoko should not expect anything different from social media. The real beef Caroline Mutoko has with social media is its power. The internet has given very kawaida Kenyans the power to stop stupidity in the media and even force action. When Mutoko says that “the majority ……will remain anonymous because even they don’t wish to be openly associated with they trash they write”, she misses the whole point and shows that she understands nothing about social media, leave alone the internet. She should care to read about internet anonymity here. It is a well protected right that not even Facebook, Google or the US government will dare mess with.

Anonymous speech is older than even the US and is well protected by the first amendment.  A much-cited 1995 US Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

What is hate speech online to Mutoko? The only case of hate speech online presented by Mutoko in the article happened in South Africa where a South African policeman, Juda Dagane, ranted against “whites” in South Africa and promised to teach them a lesson after the death of “black messiah” (Mandela). In the whole write-up, there is no single case mentioning hate speech by Kenyans online.

Mutoko goes even further to create her own definition of hate speech limiting it to hate because of ethnicity. Hate speech goes beyond ethnicity. It encompasses the disparage of a person or a group on the basis of some characteristic such as race, color, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or other characteristic.

When Nancy Baraza was running roughshod over a poor security guard at Kenya’s premier shopping mall, Village Market, Caroline Mutoko saw Baraza’s actions as a reflection on the empowerment of the females. She even throw a childish tantrum once at the UNHCR parking lot at Lion Place when she double parked her car and when she was requested to remove it, she insulted the UNHCR and called them all manner of names. Just for requesting that she stop double-parking and consider others.

I don’t deny there is hate speech online. But people like Mutoko are fighting the power social media has given to the majority of Kenyans with the excuse of hate speech. If she dresses badly or her show is whack, Kenyans will say it easily to million others through Facebook and Twitter. That really makes Mutoko goes mad because just as politicians, the only other constituency which would never allow kawaida Kenyans to have so much power is the mainstream media.

Social media dilutes the influence of the likes of Mutoko and other adults-in-diapers running our media. The days when Caroline Mutoko would fake her kidnap and then Kenyans would be kept guessing are long gone. Now every move is monitored and even a Caroline Mutoko faked breast blunder would not escape the attention of kawaida Kenyans acting through social media.

Mutoko should be the last person to lecture Kenyans on good behaviour considering that she has insulted even an innocent politician like Martha Karua, having a good time just because she had access to a microphone. The craziier you are on TV and FM Radio stations, the higher the ratings you get. And if Bonoko is a presenter, does Mutoko think that she will ever convince anyone that it requires anything saner or normal to make it on radio. Success on Radio looks to be directly proportion to the degree of madness you display on air.

The fact that the government knows who runs or present on such-and-such a radio station has not stopped them from spreading porn to the living rooms of millions of Kenyans. The reach of radio and TV in Kenya is estimated to be around 65% according to this CCK sponsored study, internet reaches less than 10% with only around 45% of the around 3.8 million Kenyans regularly using internet active on social media.

Get some education Mutoko. The internet is like Gikomba, don’t condemn all traders in Gikomba just because you don’t agree with some. And also care to specifically mention those you believe does wrong. You cannot condemn all Kenyans on social media platforms while you rely on a case of a confused South African as evidence of such behaviour by Kenyans.

About - Robert is an African Tech Blogger, Critic, Net Evangelist, Speaker, Mentor for Young Boys and Girls, Editor @TechMtaa and likes to Provide Sanitary Towels To Poor Women through the DishAPad Initiative

  • Levi Oduor

    Spot on,..Is all i can say

  • Ruks

    Truly true

  • Guest

    Very nice article, the grammar is questionable in some parts but very good all the same

  • Wan

    Stopped listening to her show years ago, no new thing to offer the planet

  • Muhindimkenya Baniyan

    methinks that we should not let the handsome fat bitch mess the day for KOT, she may be fat as a fuck and arrogant as well and most probably gets off on calling others numbskulls not forgetting her skull be thicker than most bafoons i know….anyway the truth of the matter is that social media is slowly developing into a power to reckon with, I, for example, rely more on twitter to confirm the road status before i leave the office and the only time i will admit to listening to radio is in the morning (maina and kingangi) and to be honest it has been quite a few years since i listened to the fat one as i find her quite immature and fat-headed…social media on the other hand is quite addictive and most importantly allows for a variety of views…basically you dont have to listen to one uptight fat bitch scream at everyone else who is getting it because we all know she aint getting shit! 

  • Mike

    Hapo basi *claps wildly* .The grammar is not very good in some areas but you are spot on *continues clapping*

  • http://twitter.com/timnjiru Tim Njiru

    Spot on… Standing Ovation Clap Clap Clap

  • http://twitter.com/Albo8 Albert O. Nyakundi

    Great stuff. The beauty about the internet is you can say what you wnat when you want without having to refer to people who most of the time know less than you. We even allow misspellings without making a case out of it. Big Up!! yeah we can write that too….

  • http://twitter.com/Albo8 Albert O. Nyakundi

    Actually pretty disappointing how she has degraded mentally. At some point she was fresh, maybe an inspiration but now just an annoying egotistic, ‘bitter for no reason’ woman.

    • msafiri

      She needs a real man and a Kid of her own. I tend to agree with you. Hiyo ni bitterness.

  • Anonymous

    LOL, looks like someone took the article personally. Sit down, she wasn’t talking about you in particular, or maybe she was, but you can only be sure if what she complained about applies to you. She talked about people who spread hate through the social media, especially Facebook, and THEY ARE THERE. Its not a lie. If you have a facebook account just go through the comments made on posts by NTV, Nation, Standard et al. You will be shocked at the level of ignorance, stupidity and tribalism among Kenyan facebookers. These are the people she was talking about

    But as usual, the heard mentality among Kenyans, especially those on twitter, kicked in and everyone was attacking Caroline even BEFORE they read the article. What a shame

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/TFOQSFE37RSJCL33JQCK772BXM patrick

      “HERD” MENTALITY!!!

      • Anonymous

        THAT’S RIGHT. Herd mentality. What else can it be called? Didn’t you notice there were many who were giving their two cents but couldn’t be bothered to read CM’s article first? No need to sugarcoat or mollycoddle people who go with group thinking. 

  • Ponyino

    You mean she is still on radio? Any insane person listening to her?

  • Genius1

    Chapa hao viboko!

  • John Doe

    Who still listens to Kiss FM anyway? 

  • Guest

    You said only one thing, that social media has some power. Then repeated yourself over and over plus a few insults here and there on Mutoko. Are you able to objectively offer your debate without insults? (hate speech on poor Mutoko?)

    • msafiri

      Mutoko is not “poor”, hehehe

  • Bob

    U really r right… her expiry date is in the past.

  • Ericonyi

     ushasema

  • http://twitter.com/PaulReuben P Reuben Mwakundia

    Hahaha……Caroline Mutoko’s article is so laughable…..hahahaha!! She is a typical case of losing your wits to your own pride!!

  • Somebody,somewhere

    Why all the name calling,should we base this argument on someone’s physical structure,shouldn’t it all be based on facts???? But back to the truth and reality,social media is rapidly gaining its place in society especially in establishing market trends then caroline love her or hate the fact is she is one of the top achieving Kenyan women and quite a force to reckon with,she’s been there,she’s done it,and could be summarised as veni,veti,vecci….People lets not be petty,keep your eye on focus

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  • https://www.facebook.com/suekam Susan Onyango

    Robert – you are too emotional about Carol’s article. And when one is emotional, you loose your response, because it is driven by emotion.  Lets focus on the topic.  True – we need to educate the masses, given the comments lots of us make on face book.   We need to learn how to dissect information before relaying it as facts to others.  Fighting the messenger (Carol) only increases the number of people who will listen to her tomorrow.  You have made her a “hero” Robert.

    • http://www.techmtaa.com Robert Alai

      And you don’t see the article by CM as emotional? Are you selectively blind? When you take of hate speech, I need examples. I know it exists but an article like that from CM needs mention of so-and-so. Anyway, I expected people who are smarter to see the sense. The desperados would just see Alai vs Mutoko

  • Frankline Sunday

    Robert as much as Mutoko’s assertions
    might have been a bit generic on a couple of sentences, I agree with her in
    taming hate speech on social media. Here is a sample of a few comments from one
    post on KTN’s facebook page. Note that there are THOUSANDS of this type of
    speech and I have left out more grotesque ones because I don’t think them
    worthy of being repeated…. 

    Vincent Patrick Kipchirchir Wakikuyu watajipanga unless they support other tribes this Round..are they better than others Ruto has votes from the wife and mother. Only not ‘KALENJIN’..Washindwe!!!
    Charlz W Kihiu its odm who started ths war.uhuru acted how every dad would have acted incase someone attacks his family.thats y kikuyus r behind him in full forces.UHURU THE MAN OF THA PPLE N THA NEXT PREZO 

    Pal Kimathi Mwite Under Kenyan law, all murder suspects are arrested & put at Kamiti Maximum Prison & any other high security prisons. Rome Statute that created ICC is domesticated by 2010 Constitution & has full effect taken with Kenyan laws. Thats why Uhuru, Ruto, Muthaura, & Sang must be arrested & put in detention until the case is heard & determined. No exemptions from the law!January 23 at 10:19pm · Like ·  7Japhe Wa Jaymo Av u noted that da 4 rapists,murderers etc were da 1s who used 2 walk around 4 prayer meetings cz walikuwa wanaonewa?am sure God heard thea prayerz en answerd them right… Kebenei Uhuru John Raila can celebrate for now b4 we go for his neck.January 23 at 4:19pm · Like ·  3Jamoh IthauJacob Ramires U silly haters 4 nothing!Ruto z yet proved guilty,the JUDGE INSISTED THEIR LIBERTY Z DULLY GURANTEED TIL PROVED GUILTY BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT.They still remain free kenyans any way.RUTO GO ON AND APPEAL MAN.U pple frm westrn rem hapa hatukuli UGALI nor r we in KIBERA,RAILA REMAINS 2 B FUCKED OUT COME 2012 and NEVER WIN THE PRESIdency lets wait n see.January 23 at 3:47pm · Like ·  8

    Allex Wanga IDIOT…u think leading Kenya is like leading ua wife and children?! seems u have more cowdung in ua skull…..nway, try all means..LAW will be still waiting to punish u.January 23 at 3:34pm · Like ·  1Ann Wanja Gitau Judy kiptaiwa.., thats y police have guns. To kil wen need be. Its part of th job descriptionJanuary 23 at 3:37pm · Like ·  3Janoo Jerotich We wil vote rutto hata kama hatakuwa!raila na wajinga wengine wapotelee mbaliJanuary 23 at 3:31pm · Like ·  5Beatrice Jesang RUTO MPAKA MWISHO WAJALUO MTA DO????January 23 at 4:45pm · Like ·  11

    I don’t like Kenyan FM stations. I detest
    the talk that I sometimes am subjected to in matatus. I especially wish Classic
    FM would stop talking about sex and the presenters realize they do not have a
    degree in either psychology, psychiatry or sociology and hence not fit enough
    to give marital advice.  

    You say that Mutoko is trying to save
    face in the face of her waning popularity. Be it as it may, how many times have
    YOU tried sensitizing people on the damages and pain that posting hate messages
    like these online can cause? It is true that people abuse online anonymity for
    their selfish reasons and while it protects news sources, if used wrongly, online
    anonymity can cost us. Step back for a minute and stop looking at this as new
    media V/S social media but please look at the big picture. You have a following
    too and you can choose to use it for good and sensitization instead of sorting
    out your personal vendetta. Or else you will also end up being, to use your
    very generic and insulting phrase, “adult-in-diaper”.

    • http://www.techmtaa.com Robert Alai

      I needed an example like this and not general statements. This is what Caro needed to do and not make a general statement, insult all Kenyans on social media as small minded then you want me to clap for her? Pliiiiz

      I need examples. I know it exists but talking about hate speech by Kenyans online then giving SA examples is simply thick. Now well thought out.

      I expect only the very smart to see the sense and argue from the point of information. Desperados can continue yapping

      • Caroline Mose

          Actually Robert, with all due respect, I think you know that Mutoko was constrained with space in her ‘The Star’ article, hence the ‘generic’ angle. She did not have as much space as you do in your blog to include myriad examples from the web as we do here. I also think that a blogger and activist of your stature is AWARE of some of the horrendous writing that people, under aliases and the guise of anonymity, are spewing into cybersphere, from Facebook to Nation Newspaper comments section. Most of these are not well moderated, and if they are and they pass muster (whatever that is), then I wonder what does not, how incendiary it must be. We cannot deny knowing how tribalistic and emotional people have been when it comes to mentioning other ethnicities adversely, and in vociferously defending the politicians from their own ethnicities.

        Now, am I a Mutoko groupie? Not in the least. I have no access to Kiss and I think she does sometimes preach water and drink wine. Case in point, the altercation she had with Dr. Paula Kahumbu, where the latter complained about highly homophobic content on Kiss and Capital, and Caroline dismissed it as ‘men voicing the opinions of other men in a society where homosexuality is frowned upon’. According to the law, attacking people on the basis of their sex, beliefs is construed as hate speech. You are therefore correct in saying she quoted this piece of legislation selectively.

        Now, on her using the SA example, may I point out that you have done similar by quoting a piece of American legislation in your own rejoinder? Kenya is not covered under the First Amendment, and if you argue that you were using it as a point of reference, then the same argument can be used in Mutoko’s article. Besides, the rights of anonymity protected under the first amendment are not arbitrary. They do not extend to anonymous bloggers who write ‘we will come for your necks’ and other blatant threats preceded by ‘nyinyi wajaluo’ or ‘nyinyi wakikuyu’ or ‘wakale’. They extend to bloggers writing in veiled regimes like Iran for instance, their main intention being exposing human rights infringements for international intervention.

        And on your point about hate speech online, the Constitution of Kenya states:

        33 (2) The right to freedom of expression does not extend to—
        (a) propaganda for war;
        (b) incitement to violence;
        (c) hate speech; or
        (d) advocacy of hatred that—
        (i) constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others or
        incitement to cause harm; or
        (ii) is based on any ground of discrimination specified or
        contemplated in Article 27 (4).

        34. (1) Freedom and independence of electronic, print and all other
        types of media is guaranteed, but does not extend to any expression
        specified in Article 33 (2).

        This interprets to being that if one person incites others through electronic media in the areas covered under Article 33 (2), that person can be charged for hate speech under the law. In December 2011, Mzalendo Kibunja of NCIC warned that Kenyans engaging in hate speech on social networking sites could be liable for prosecution as we entered election year.  Admittedly, this is a new area of legislation, considering the recent proliferation of social media. It does not mean ALL bloggers are dimwits and ethnic inciters. It also does not mean that people have the freedom to spew forth vitriol in the name of anonymity. At the end of the day, this is not about Mutoko or yourself- it is about people being sensitive and considerate before hitting the ‘send’ button, and if they cannot curb their emotions, then maybe the law should do it for them.

        Finally, and this is tongue-in-cheek, Bonoko and Caroline must not be discussed in a comparative discourse because their constituents are very different…or then again, perhaps not.

  • Seth Muriithi

    The moans and groans from the pig sty that WAS main stream media sure gets louder as Kenyans become more and more empowered by the internet.

  • http://www.techmtaa.com Robert Alai

    If only you could write a blog post

  • http://www.techmtaa.com Robert Alai

    If only you could write a blog post

  • http://www.techmtaa.com Robert Alai

    Thanks

  • Abby

    Sounds like you have a personal grudge with Caroline. Her article was spot on and I agree with her 100%. Kenyans need to watch what they post on social media. Her attack was on those who use social media to spread hate speech. The article was not attacking all Kenyan social media users as you have tried to put it. And like it or not, she has earned her respect and place in society. She has a voice, one that cannot be eroded by posts on social media for as long as she speaks the truth and oh.. doesn’t the truth hurt!

    • http://www.techmtaa.com Robert Alai

      Abby, tell me where in the article Caro mentions particular cases? I need exact mentions. Blanket and general statements amounts to accusation of all

      • Anonymous

        I don’t get your reasoning. When someone is talking about people who spread hate through social media, then of course that person is NOT talking about those who do not. Simple deduction, simple logic. 

        • http://www.techmtaa.com Robert Alai

          And your simple logic has not taught you that you cant solve anything by generalisation

        • http://www.techmtaa.com Robert Alai

          Simple logic should also tell you that you can’t generalise to validate your point. Are you blind to that?

  • Chawa

    Carol mutoko is not as intelligent as she wants us to believe

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TT37PAP3BV7EZ2UV5DIZ4EVGAI Jaffar

    Robert, you made one mistake! Why do you take such people as Mutoko seriously? Of late she is a self declared expert on all issues; Education, Governace, Social media ad nauseum. Is this what happens when you get an MBA? But on a positive note, she is a role model, she proves that you dont need much to get on Radio in Kenya. 

  • http://www.techmtaa.com Robert Alai

    How many “Facebook pages of media houses” are there? I said, only the very smart would see my point. You are not smart enough to see my point

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  • Guest

    after reading caroline’s article and your’s i’m really questioning where you are coming from. you talk of anonymity being the reason for the downfall of kenyan media stations yet she’s talking of nonsensical talk from social media site users who insult others in the name of politicians who do not even know they exist… please come back to the topic at hand… is it or is it not true that people are spreading lies and insults on twitter and facebook based on the candidate they are supporting? is this or is this not the atmosphere that lead up to the post election violence?

    i’m an avid user of social networking sites and no i didn’t take her article personally coz i’m not spreading hate speech. let’s accept when there is something seriously wrong and try to stop it instead of hiding our heads in ego massaging based conversations. her article was not a personal attack it was an obvious fact that if we do not address hate as the more educated and privileged ones, 2007 will be a walk in the park in comparison to what is coming next 

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  • msafiri

    You start a sentence with a capital letter. That’s grammar.

  • makray

    - ‘The craziier you are on TV and FM Radio stations, the higher the ratings you get.’

    This is sort of true in many countries’ media landscape, which is why the US radio scene is dominated by total right-wing whack-jobs. I haven’t read the Mutoko article, though you can be sure I’m fishing it out pronto.

  • Kenrique Patrick

    Right on sir, i believe that with social media every individual has the right to air their views about a particular matter and it doesn’t necessarily have to be hate speech. There are so many voices everyday echoing peace in Tana, loving your neighbor et al and we cant cut out their voices with a generalization to hate speech. We all condemn hate speech but that doesn’t have to degenerate on social media. Social media is the key to bring forth “Voice” as pertains the world not just the country to all manner of audience who will choose on what issues they would like to fill their minds with, what response to give and suggest way forward. #MyThoughts . . .

  • onetwo

    and she’s a plagiarist!

  • Jim

    “….she has even insulted an innocent politician like Martha Karua”. OK.
    And Martha Karua would be innocent in what way exactly? :-)

  • me

    yes the spellings…

  • k0720677

    I understood the point, I dont hate Caro but no insults…wen u r angry just lock ur self in bathroom n insult as much as u want , come out fresh…