Minister of Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss today cautioned bloggers and others who use social media to “deliberately spew filth” about fellow Barbadians to be mindful there were consequences under the law for such activities.
The plain-talking minister’s warning came as he addressed an e-commerce seminar at Pelican Village, where he suggested that persons guilty of such practices should be made to “pay a price”.
Noting that he himself had been the subject of untrue and filthy stories, Inniss said while he expected that to happen because he was a politician, a number of other people, including doctors, had recently shared their concerns with him after being similarly targeted.
“Go around Barbados today and people are sending out all sorts of sordid stories and untruths about individuals,” he said. “I would like to send a word of caution to Barbadians and others who take great pleasure in using Facebook and the blog sites to say some of the nastiest and most untrue things about fellow Barbadians, (that) I really expect that they (will) exercise some common sense and some respect going forward”.
Inniss said it was “regrettable” that there were individuals who “propagate rubbish” without any regard for individuals, their families, communities and loved ones.
He said Government and the relevant authorities would continue to do what they could to ensure that the rights of individuals were protected, while making sure others were still able to express themselves.
“The Computer Misuse Act is there . . . Some of the issues that have surfaced recently, I am advised, have been reported to the police and they will do what they have to do. But we as a Government, between the Ministry of Commerce, for example, and the Attorney General’s Office, will have to put our heads together and address these matters,” Inniss added, without going into details.
“We must never become a society that seeks to stop individuals from expressing their views on matters . . . [but] I think the same way you can go in a newspaper or on a radio and tell lies about people and pay a price, you ought to pay a price when you use social media to go out there and slander people’s name and destroy their character. You really must not feel that you can, in a very unfettered manner, say and do whatever you want about people in this country.”