Radio manager ties support for Cybercrime Bill to FOI laws

Starcom Network’s General Manager Anthony Greene.

A media manager has told lawmakers he believes that the government could garner more support for its Cybercrime Bill if it would pass freedom of information (FOI) laws.

Starcom Network’s General Manager Anthony Greene told a Joint Select Committee of Parliament examining the Cybercrime Bill and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill on Monday that unfettered access to information is a prerequisite to building trust, promoting communication and fighting the “enemy” of misinformation.

He said there was a need to modernise laws and government processes to facilitate the capture and share of information in the public interest. This would promote responsibility, trust and transparency and combat negative perceptions about secrecy, corruption and the unnecessary control of information, he added.

“A government that wants to bring cohesiveness around the issues of how people use devices and share information within the context of the advancement of technology could gather greater support of the Cybercrime Bill by following up on the Freedom of Information Act,” Greene said.

“It projects a willingness to not just hear the people but to listen and act and to lead by example in creating an enabling environment for responsible sharing of information.”

Greene told the Senate Chamber hearing that the Cybercrime Bill allows the government to reaffirm its commitment to effective communications practices.

“Let us seize the moment to cultivate a culture of openness, dialogue and progress, thereby empowering our people to play an active role in shaping our collective future. In so doing, my recommendation to treat the freedom of information and access to information legislation to the same level of seriousness will help us to achieve this,” he said.

But committee chairman Edmund Hinkson, while acknowledging Greene’s presentation, urged him to make the case for FOI laws “in the correct place”.

Hinkson said: “Our mandate is not to advise on what other pieces of legislation should come before Parliament. We are looking at two Bills and neither of them is freedom of information legislation. I would want to urge you to make your appeal for further legislation before other fora or other means.”
(SP)

 

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