A police officer is seen in Flacq district, Mauritius, on March 25, 2020. CPJ recently joined a letter calling for the country to reject amendments to its ICT Act. (AFP/Beekash Roopun/L'Express Maurice)

CPJ joins call for Mauritius to reject ICT Act amendments that threaten online speech

The Committee to Protect Journalists today joined more than 50 organizations and individuals in co-signing a letter calling on the government of Mauritius to retract proposed changes to the country’s Information and Communication Technologies Act, known as the ICT Act.

The letter, addressed to the Information and Communication Technologies Authority, expressed concern that the amendments’ requirement that all social media traffic in the country be decrypted would “unduly interfere with freedom of expression and privacy” and “pose a danger to the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.”

The amendments would also create a new National Digital Ethics Committee with the ability to block online content, which the letter said “poses significant threats to freedom of expression, privacy, and security.”

The proposed amendments were published in a consultation paper issued last month, which stated that the legal changes would regulate and prevent abuse on social media. CPJ has documented the importance of encryption for journalists to work safely around the world.

Read the full letter here.