Sedition clause will go against freedom of speech- Nandlall

Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, stated that he was not in any of the meetings that were held to discuss the way forward with the Cyber Crime Bill.

“I was part of a Special Select Committee to which the said Bill was transmitted. However, the sittings of that Committee conflicted with my rigorous Court schedule. As a result,I was unable to attend most, if not all, the sittings of this Committee. Therefore I did not support the provisions of this Bill in that Committee as is being alleged.”

The former AG in an interview with Newsroom recently, noted that certain clauses must be reviewed, especially clause 18 of the Cyber Crime Bill. Nandlall stated that sedition is an outdated law. He opined that sedition offence has not place in modern democracy. This view was also expressed by some governmental official.

According to Cultural Advisor within the Ministry of Culture, Rule Johnson, if the bill is passed, this section will be 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.

Nandlall quipped that in the modern era, passing a piece of legislation that includes sedition, is a retrograde step. This is an attack of freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, he noted.

Artile 18 of the bill will collide with the freedom of expression guaranteed in the Constitution, he expressed, the opposition MP noted.

 


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