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Govt, stakeholders to discuss Cybercrime Bill

Friday, June 20, 2014

In wake of recent reports that the Cybercrime Bill 2014 poses a threat to freedom of the press, the Government is inviting stakeholders to discuss the issue. In a press release yesterday National Security Minister Gary Griffith invited various bodies representing the media including the T&T Publishers and Broadcasters Association (TTPBA) and the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (Matt) to discuss concerns in relation to Clause 21.


It said Griffith believed that press freedom was an integral component in a democracy and welcomed comments and concerns which could be considered in reviewing the relevant clause. “Minister Griffith says the Cybercrime Bill 2014 should not be seen or be used as an ‘anti-whistle blowing bill’ to muzzle the media, but rather as a bill to protect citizens from cybercrimes ranging from hacking, illegal access to data, harassment, extortion via a computer system, illegal interference, computer related forgery, computer related fraud and identity related offences to name a few,” the release said.


It added that the bill was not meant to target the media and maintained it would not affect freedom of the press. The release said Clause 21 was intended to protect citizens from harassment online. Calls have been made by the TTPBA to redraft and revise legislation aimed at clamping down on computer hacking that the Opposition has warned could seriously affect press freedom.
In a press release last week the TTPBA said the bill has the potential to muzzle the media and undermine investigative journalism, and called on the Government to discuss the issues concerning the bill with the media association and other stakeholders.