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 in the tiny eastern Caribbean island. 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.
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