As part of a Cyber Crime Bill that is either before the National Assembly or will be put before it sometime in the future, the offence of Sedition has a clause that is consider the most undemocratic move by the Coalition Government.
According to section 18 (1) of the draft legislation “a person commits an offence of sedition if the person, wether in and out of Guyana, intentionally publishes, transmits or circulates by use of a computer system, a statement or words, either spoken or written, a text, video, image, sign, visible representation, or thing, that
- Brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite dissatisfaction towards the Government establish by law in Guyana;
- Advocate the use, without the authority of law, of force as a means of accomplishing a governmental change within.”
According to Cultural Advisor within the Ministry of Culture, Rule Johnson, if the bill is passed, this section will be the a “poisonous piece of anti-democratic legislation” in modern history.
The advisor noted that “disaffection towards government is par for the course of politics in a democracy and the Internet remains the most powerful medium for democratic expression we have.”
“This administration rode to power on a wave of disaffection incited against the PPP by persons like me using social media. To therefore include a provision like this in an anti-crime bill is to criminalize the exact sort of dissent that was key to what was a necessary change in political administration. This should be roundly opposed by anyone claiming to express democratic credentials,” he said.