“Sedition” deleted but Gov’t holds on to “offences against the State”

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Boasting about being receptive to criticisms, Attorney General Basil Williams announced Friday that the controversial sedition clause in the Cybercrime Bill 2018 has been removed but the section still includes offences against the State.

Such offences include committing or attempting to commit criminal offences against the President of Guyana, any members of the Government or any attempts to incite racial division or hostility among people.

But the Members of the Opposition are not satisfied with these changes and are calling for the entire deletion of the section. The Cybercrime Bill is currently being debated in the National Assembly.

The Attorney General accepted that Clause 18 – the “sedition clause” – was subject to criticisms from both the Parliamentary Opposition and Civil Society.

Amid those criticisms, Cabinet reviewed the Bill and even hired a “free speech and media attorney” from Islip to provide advice, Williams said.

“The changes made demonstrate that this Government is receptive and responsive to criticisms and committed to the democratic process,” the Attorney General stated.

He added: “We recognize that the passing of laws affects society and therefore those who will be affected should have an input in the legislative process.”

With these changes, the Bill provides a clearer definition of what constitutes an offence against the State in the cyber world.

It makes it clear that expressions of disagreements with State policies or actions/decisions of the Government do not constitute an offence.

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