Legislators in Grenada have approved a bill that makes it a crime to offend people through websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The measure was approved as part of an electronic crimes bill passed late Friday. The same bill also imposes penalties on other online activities including electronic stalking and identity theft.

“We have problems when some use the technology to engage in mischief,” said Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod. “We have to put structures in place to ensure that persons and, in some cases, companies and characters are not tarnished.”

According to the bill, which is the first of its kind in the Caribbean, complaints about offensive comments would be filed with police. A judge would then decide if the message was offensive.

Those found guilty could be fined up to $37,000 or face three years in prison.

“A person will be able to take that evidence of the posting and use it as evidence in the court,” Nimrod said. “People have to act responsibly to others.”

The bill also makes it a crime to distribute child pornography, imposing fines of up to $111,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

(Associated Press)

9 replies on “Grenada to punish offensive online comments”

  1. Delilah Sparx says:

    The child pornography I can understand but to charge people for offensive comments seems a bit over the top. I guess freedom of speech is lost in democratic societies also.

  2. THAT IS THE PROBLEM OF ASSOCIATING WITH MAINLAND CHINA, YOU ARE OBLIGED TO ADOPT THEIR RULES.

    WELCOME GRENADA IN YOUR GIANT LEAP BACKWARDS.

    People of Grenada, if you elect scum you have to suffer the consequences.

    CC US embassy Barbados.

  3. Did they say what will be deemed “offensive comments”? Aren’t there more useful laws these people could think of. It is true, who tell Grenadians to put back that man there!

  4. Looks like I will end up with life imprisonment if I go to Grenada.

    Are you people just going to stand for this, its just the thin end of the wedge.

    The problem is who decides what is offensive?

    Because even the truth can be offensive, and very often it is to the recipient.

    What are the rules?

    cc US Embassy Barbados

  5. The problem is when you make ambiguous sections of laws, leaving a judge up to the interpretation, it becomes then based on the opinion of one man, and we all know that our judges are very often out of touch with the real world. In fact some of them are bordering being quite stupid.

    Also in some islands the police judiciary are under the total control of the Prime Minister.

    I SUPPOSE IF THESE LAWS ARE OK WITH CHINA, THEY ARE OK WITH GRENADA.

  6. Anesia Baptiste says:

    This is always the problem when governments seek t legislate against offense. Offense is subjective. What is offensive to one person may not be offensive to another. Who decides what will be offensive? One man? A judge? this goes against the requirements for law to clear. If comments are defamatory, there are laws to deal with that already under the tort of libel and slander. I hope no government in SVG tries to reproduce this kind of legislation.

  7. ANESIA, the problem is that ‘offensive’ can be something of a much lesser nature than libel or slander, this catches up with people who may just make a remark that is neither libellous or slanderous but the recipient or even others finds offensive.

    This can only be described as a law to curb or prohibit freedom of speech, which will be open to abuse by the ruling party.

    You can be sure that this government will follow Grenada if this law is passed. Our ULP scum bags [offensive term] will just love to use such a law to try and gag their opponents.

    1. Anesia Baptiste says:

      Peter, I assure you that I am aware of the implications for rights and freedoms of legislating offense. The Religious Liberty institute to which I belong has had to address issues nationally on similar legislation in Trinidad & Tobago a few years ago.

      I have no certainty that the ULP administration will follow Grenada in this behavior. For the sake of Vincentians I hope it, nor any other government here for that matter, passes such laws. In any event, vigilance from our people is key and it is the cost of liberty-that is-eternal struggle and vigilance.

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