Bowing to pressure
The Grenada government said Monday that it would make the “necessary changes” to the Electronic Crimes Bill after the legislation was criticised by regional and international media groups as curbing free speech on the island.
“I have agreed to make the necessary changes, after having discussions with members of the local and regional media, so that there will be no doubt about the intention of the country,” Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said.
Earlier, the Paris-based media group, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) said it had written to Governor General, Dame Cécile La Grenade, urging her to veto the legislation that critics say would punish the sending of “offensive” electronic communication with up to one year in prison.
“We do not dispute the principle of this law or some of its provisions. The Internet should not escape the authority of the law altogether and we believe that it is perfectly legitimate to sanction such crimes and offences as the theft of documents or data, online identity theft or, even more serious, child pornography,” RWB general secretary Christophe Deloire wrote in the letter.
The Vienna –based International Pres Institute (IPI) and the Association of Caribbean MediaWokers (ACM) had also expressed expressing concern over the legislation.
The Electronic Crimes Act had been withdrawn in early July after IPI and other groups had expressed concern about a potential chilling effect on free speech in Grenada.