Jamaica: Woman arrested for misusing social media

Jamaica Observer:-KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) last evening warned social media users to be responsible in their use of the various platforms and to be mindful of the law.

The warning comes on the heels of the arrest and charge of Latoya Nugent, co-founder of women’s advocacy group Tambourine Army, under the Cybercrimes Act.

The Tambourine Army yesterday expressed disappointment in her arrest and charge, which they claimed is “an attempt by the State to silence a human rights advocate,” who is championing the rights of girls and women.

In a subsequent press release, the JCF acknowledged the work of advocacy groups “who preserve the rights of vulnerable individuals in society” and noted policies of its own, which it said were implemented to safeguard these rights.

 However, after pointing out the role of social media as an information source (facts or opinions) and its far-reaching capabilities, it noted: “Any misuse of social media platforms could be dangerous, lead to distress and possible breaches of the law”.

The JCF said that over time, it has grown increasingly concerned with public mischief and false news being circulated on social media in addition to child pornography, images of carcasses and videos of domestic violence.

They highlighted the Cybercrimes Act, the Obscene Publications Act as well as the Offences Against the Person Act among legislation that were enacted to protect people against the misuse and/or abuse by social media users.

Nugent is accused of publishing information on social media maligning several individuals as sexual predators and is charged with three counts of using computer for malicious communication.

She was to appear in court yesterday, but missed the session after she was rushed to the Kingston Public Hospital in a state of shock.

In addition to claims that she was denied medical attention while detained at the Duhaney Park Police Station, the Tambourine Army argued that Nugent’s arrest “sends a chilling statement to women who have suffered the trauma of sexual abuse and who are now willing to step forward and say the name of the perpetrators”.

The advocacy group describes itself as a radical social justice movement committed to uprooting the scourge of sexual violence and safeguarding the rights of women and girls.

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