Cyber Crime Act: “You will learn when you go in jail” – AG to irresponsible talk show hosts

…says there is a duty in law to shut down reckless callers

Talk show hosts and others who provide a platform for viewers or listeners to express their opinions are responsible for whatever is said on their programmes.
This is according to Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall, SC, who on Tuesday evening pointed out that failure to make responsible decisions can lead to charges relating to cybercrime or criminal conduct.
The AG admitted that while it is impossible to predict what callers will say on the programmes streamed on social media, television or radio stations, the host, nevertheless, has a responsibility to discontinue the engagement once hostility is detected.

Attorney General & Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC

While not every host of a programme must be trained in law, Nandlall said “at least if you are going to talk publicly, you ought to have common sense.”
He further explained that “it is not expected that you [the host] will be able to predict what the person is likely to say or may say but from the moment you hear that the person is saying something that you know, as an ordinary, reasonable sensible human being – something that the person should not be saying, something that can put you in problem, something that can make you an accomplice or an accessory to a crime – you have a duty to shut that caller down. That is your responsibility in law.”
The attorney general went onto further point out that ignorance of the law is never a defence.
“If you entertain that caller, you are participating in the criminal conduct… So, if you don’t know well too bad, you will learn when you go in jail,” Nandlall bluntly stated on his weekly programme ‘Issues in the News’.
The AG’s statements come on the heels of political activist, Kadackie Amsterdam, being arrested for encouraging or inciting persons to commit murder against President Dr Irfaan Ali and several other senior government officials including Nandlall himself.

Kadackie Amsterdam

On Tuesday, Guyana Police Force said ranks from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) arrested Amsterdam, a member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) – one of the small parties that form the Opposition-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), at his recording studio at Annandale, East Coast Demerara.
Amsterdam was arrested in relation to three cybercrime offences: using a computer system to transmit words spoken by a video that encourages or incites any person to commit the offence of Murder against the President and members of the Government, contrary to Section 18(1)(c) of the Cybercrime Act No 16 of 2018; and using a computer system to disseminate information knowing same to be false, contrary to Section 19(3) (a) of the Cybercrime Act No 16 of 2018.
The offences were also allegedly committed against a businessman and others, the police said.
“These matters are being treated very seriously. [The] investigations are ongoing,” the GPF said.
Laid in the National Assembly in 2016 by the former APNU/AFC Government, the Cyber Crimes Bill treats with the creation of cybercrime offences, and contains provisions for penalties, investigations and prosecutions of such.
It had also catered for, inter alia: illegal access to a computer system; illegal interception; illegal data interference; illegal acquisition of data; illegal system interference; unauthorised receiving or granting of access to computer data; computer-related forgery; computer- related fraud; offences affecting critical infrastructure; identity-related offences; child pornography; child luring, and violation of privacy among a slew of other offences.
According to the Cyber Crime Act No. 16 of 2018, if convicted on Indictment for the first offence, a person is liable to imprisonment of five years.
If convicted summarily on the second offence, a person is liable to a fine of $5 million and imprisonment of three years, and if convicted on Indictment, a person is liable to a fine of $10 million and imprisonment of five years. (G8)