#Digital Caribbean: Electronic Crime Bill

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#Digital Caribbean: Electronic Crime Bill

  1. 1. Electronic Crime Bill According to the Electronic Crimes Act 2013, those found guilty of “sending offensive messages through [electronic] communication services, etc.” face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to EC$100,000 (US$37,000/€28,000).
  2. 2. Electronic Crime Bill In addition to the undefined “offensive” language, the law also covers information known to be false that is intended to cause, among others, “annoyance, inconvenience, insult, or ill-will.” 
  3. 3. Electronic Crime Bill  The law appears intended to address defamation not only via social media, but also via user-generated content on news Web sites, usually in “comment sections.”  These sections, which can be important avenues for average citizens to express opinions, have become controversial in the Caribbean and elsewhere as a forum for the proliferation of potentially libelous of even insightful material.
  4. 4. Int. Press Institute Responds  IPI executive director Alison Bethel McKenzie said “IPI absolutely appreciates that the advent of social media and the proliferation of user- generated comment have presented challenges for protecting the right to reputation.  But we are disappointed that the Grenadian government has chosen to enact a new criminal law as a response, especially since just last year the government agreed with IPI that civil litigation, not criminal action, is appropriate for handling libel and defamation cases.”  
  5. 5. Int. Press Institute Responds She added: “Any additional law aimed at regulating this type of content is not only superfluous but also threatens to limit press freedom beyond what is necessary in a democratic society.”

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