The digital age has brought unprecedented connectivity, yet it’s also birthed a concerning surge in gendered disinformation and hate speech on Kenya’s online platforms. In response to this alarming trend, The Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), in partnership with UNESCO, orchestrated a pivotal webinar to tackle these issues head-on.
This virtual congregation attracted a diverse assembly of voices, ranging from government representatives and media advocates to tech experts and academic luminaries. The discourse centred on the escalating dangers posed by gendered disinformation targeting women online.
Hon. Naisula Lesuuda(MP, Samburu West) and Patience Nyange(ED, AMWIK), prominent figures at the forefront of this dialogue, fervently highlighted the detrimental impacts of online violence perpetuated through distorted narratives. Their poignant calls for immediate action underscored the urgency to shield women from the perils of misinformation in the digital domain.
“Protecting women from the onslaught of online violence is imperative,” affirmed Hon. Naisula Lesuuda during the webinar. “It’s high time we take concrete measures to ensure their safety and dignity in the digital realm.”
The discussions, enriched by insights from John Okande of UNESCO, emphasized the pivotal need for collaborative efforts among stakeholders. Victor Bwire from the Media Council of Kenya echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the importance of cohesive strategies and partnerships to effectively counter harmful online content.
Josephine Nkuubi emphasized the critical role of media literacy in empowering individuals to discern authentic information from misleading narratives. Education emerged as a potent tool to combat gendered disinformation.
The webinar was not just a platform for discussions; it spurred proposals for action. Suggestions included reforms in education to incorporate media literacy and forging alliances with major tech platforms. Moreover, recognizing the dire need for psychosocial support for victims of online hate speech, the webinar highlighted the necessity of support systems.
Looking ahead, AMWIK and its partners announced plans for a comprehensive two-day training workshop. This collaborative initiative seeks to engage stakeholders from diverse sectors, consolidating efforts to combat gendered disinformation and hate speech.
In summary, the webinar served as a clarion call, uniting voices to fortify a digital landscape where gender equality prevails, and misinformation finds no haven. Through unwavering collaboration and shared commitments, AMWIK and UNESCO spearhead the charge toward a safer and more inclusive online space for all Kenyans.
By Iman Masud, AMWIK Intern