A piece of legislation which was approved by the House of Representatives that makes it an offence for persons to send offensive language electronically was withdrawn by the Leader of Government Business during today’s sitting of the Upper House.
The Electronic Crimes Bill was among five other E-Bills scheduled for debate and approval in the Upper House today. However, Leader of Government Business in the Senate Kenny Lalsingh announced before that start of the debate, that Government has made a decision to return the Bill to the Lower House, pending further deliberation.
“The intention with regard to the Electronic Crimes Bills is to have as much feedback as possible with the various stakeholders about the Bill. So I move that this Bill be returned to the Lower House for further deliberations,” Lalsingh told the House.
The Lower House of the Grenada Parliament in late June approved a number of legislations that not only provide for persons to legally conduct transactions online, but also provides for the Police to charge persons who commit electronic criminal offences.
Chief among the legislation is the Electronic Crimes Bill, which now among other things makes it an offence to send offensive messages electronically publicly, especially via social media such as Facebook and Twitter; engage in electronic identity theft; conduct and participate in the distribution of child pornography; engage in prank calls to the law enforcement; participate in electronic stalking; involved or be responsible for spoof and spam emails and other electronic formats; engage in electronic fraud and forgery; participate in electronic terrorism, and to violate another person’s privacy.
Following the publication of the story, the Government said that it is cognisant of some concerns raised by the proposed new Electronics Crime Bill 2013, and its possible ability to douse internet comments, in Section 6 of the comprehensive 18 page document.
Government promised that it will review the concern and is committed to looking at the segment to ensure that in no way free speech through internet comments are either inhibited or by any slightest measure, threatened.
“While the Government is committed to bringing modern legislation to deal with modern-day realities, it will in no way inhibit traditional old tenets that are the centre of any self-respecting democracy. Under the watch of this government, no law shall inhibit or threaten open debate in any form or fashion,” said the Government.
The senators will continue to deliberate and approve the other E-bill which are: The Electronic Filing Bill; the Electronic Transactions Bill: the Electronic Transfer of Funds Crimes Bill and the Electronic Evidence Bill.