On the 14 June 2016 one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation ever to have been brought to the Island's Parliament (and there have been a few) is expected to get voted through unanimously.
The Proposition (P.19/2016) was submitted under the name of the Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, signed by Assistant Chief Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf. Although all sorts of other propositions, and protocols, have been brought forward, by a number of different bodies/politicians in the past in an attempt to silence Blogsites, this is the latest incarnation.
In theory this piece of legislation, when passed, could also silence the mainstream/accredited/State Media (MSM). It seeks to make a criminal out of anyone who offends anyone online including the MSM. That is to say that if the BBC, or the JEP (the latter having an online comment section on its website) broadcast/print something about a friend of mine (or yours) and our friend DOESN'T find it offensive but you and I DO then we (according to what Philip Ozouf has said) can go to the police and make a criminal complaint against the BBC/JEP and it could be charged. The same goes for all media including ITV/CTV etc.
Of course we know, in reality this is utter nonsense, any complaint made against the media, to the cops, will be ignored and the cops will tell the complainant to take it up with the media's regulatory body. (even if it is unfit for purpose or non-existent.)
Where are the media, the journalist, in all this? Why aren't they speaking out against it? The Media should be challenging government and speaking up not only for the little guy, but for themselves. As something as important as free speech they should be campaigning hard against this draconian law. Their silence deafening.
We, as responsible online Bloggers, argue there is no need for this law/proposition because there are adequate harassment/libel/defamation and not least Data Protection laws. The four proxies who, through the data Protection Commissioner, were able to bring a court case against former Health Minister, and Whistle-Blower Stuart Syvret. The court case had the added bonus (for the proxies) of being held in secret so the proxies didn't have to go through the added "stress and harm" of having the allegations made against them public. The court case was brought under the guise that what Mr. Syvret said about them, online, caused them "stress" and "harm." Being offended on the internet can/will bring stress and harm so there is no need for this law because any alleged victim can go to the Data Protection Commissioner with their complaint and have their court costs paid for by the taxpayer.......All in total (not so) secret.
VFC filled in the online survey published before the proposition was tabled and it mostly covered internet sites geared up for children. snapchat/Bebo/Facebook etc. If this legislation is supposed to deter children from bullying other children online then why is it that children between the ages of 14-18 will almost certainly NOT be prosecuted? This little nugget came about from answers given at the Scrutiny Review Hearing (Thurs 26th May) where the Chief Minister and Home Affairs Minister were being questioned, although it was a member of the Law Office who was doing all the answering and there really was no need for either Minister to be there. Indeed it was the former Attorney General, (Tim Le Cocq)? who dreamed up this proposition so instead of sending one of his minions to the Scrutiny Hearing why didn't he turn up himself?
It has been stated that there is next to no chance of any 14-18 year old being charged with any crime as a result of this law. In fact the worst that can be expected to happen is they will appear before a Parish Hall Inquiry. That's not all together a bad thing because children should not have to be criminalised, but I thought this law was to protect children online? Where's the deterrent? But we know it's not being brought to protect children, it's being brought to silence political dissent and Blogs.
Jersey's alleged corrupt and politicised judiciary has history in financially ruining those who have spoken out against the government, former Deputies Trevor/Shona Pitman, Stuart Syvret and possibly many others (we can't know how many secret court cases there have been). The legislation allows for a two-year prison sentence and an UNLIMITED fine. As became apparent at the Scrutiny Hearing, the fine imposed will be reflective of the crime and NOT the ability to pay. So the person writing the "offensive" comment online can be financially ruined for life as well as imprisoned for two years. It also became apparent at the Scrutiny hearing that the legislation seeks to approve two years in prison AND (not or) an unlimited fine.
This is a scary piece of legislation that will kill what very little free speech this island has left. Far from being a protection/deterrent for children against online bullying it is the latest tool being used to shut down free speech..........It's a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.
Readers should also be interested in this comment from TOM GRUCHY.
Submitted by Team Voice.