Peace News Network
Kenya's past elections have been marred by violence, and with citizens heading to the polls on August 8, observers are concerned about the impact of hate speech. SMS text messages, in particular, have been blamed for partially fueling violence that led to 1,400 deaths following the 2007 election.
However, during this year's election, SMS messages are being used to try to diffuse tension, and social media is being used to monitor hate speech.
What is hate speech?
"The definition we use for hate speech is really the general definition, which is speech that attacks a person or group, on the basis of their race, their gender, their ethnic origin, their religion, or sexual orientation," said Giselle Lopez, from PeaceTech Lab, who has been researching the impact of hate speech and conflict in the region – including neighboring South Sudan.
"In the case of most of the work that we do there's another category of speech, called dangerous speech, which is speech that is very likely to lead to violence," Ms Lopez said.