Umati: Monitoring Online Dangerous Speech

Cite as:

Okune, Angela, Philip Ochola Mak'Anyengo, Sylvester Wachira Ndaiga, Sidney Ochieng, Rhoda Omenya, Chris Orwa, Nanjira Sambuli, and Varyanne Sika. 2018. "Umati: Monitoring Online Dangerous Speech." In "iHub Research (2011 - 2017): A Critical Technology Action Research Group Within Nairobi's Flagship Tech Innovation Hub," created by Okune et al. In STS Across Borders Digital Exhibit, curated by Aalok Khandekar and Kim Fortun. Society for Social Studies of Science. August.

STS Across Borders In Brief

STS Across Borders is a special exhibit organized by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) to showcase how the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has developed in different times, places...Read more

Public impact

The first phase of the Umati project developed the largest database of hate speech from one country to date (6,600+ incidents). The project garnered incredible attention both locally and internationally, with over 24 different news articles written about Umati from media houses including Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Nation Media, and Reuters.

In addition to wide media coverage, the Umati project was also able to gain traction in academic, non-governmental, and governmental circles alike. The research findings and reports have been cited in several publications, most recently in a Master’s thesis from Uppsala University. The team presented the work at over 10 conferences and workshops. Umati was also invited by the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communication to review their Draft National Public Communication Policy. Inputs from the review were taken up and have been incorporated into the latest draft. The Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Interior Coordination and National Government has also recently appointed a task force to undertake a comprehensive review of the NCIC Act including its “Hate Speech” component and definition. While we could not prove that this move was as a result of Umati’s work, we believed our work contributed towards the creation of this task force. The Umati team was also invited to the stakeholder session where we were able to also provide input on the NCIC Act of 2008.

Publications Resulting from the Project

Example of Media Coverage of Umati Project

AO: This is an example of some of the media coverage that the Umati project received. This was probably one of our most famous projects so much so that I overheard someone giving a tour of the iHub building and when they pointed to the iHub Research sign in the elevator, the person introduced...Read more