Cybersecurity act in Honduras tackled content regulation

On 8 February, a special commission of the Parliament in Honduras approved the country’s Cybersecurity Act. The text also contains mechanisms to fight hate speech spread through social networks. Article 6 of the bill states that content deemed offensive should be removed or blocked within 24 hours (and in no case later than seven days), upon the request of the person deemed offended, without mentioning the need for a judicial order. The initiative is similar to the ones which were discussed in October 2017 in Brazil and in Paraguay, with the difference that the debate in those countries only concerned dealing with objectionable content in the period of elections, whereas the case in Honduras targets all digital communications. Sectors of the press and freedom of expression activists and organisations have voiced opposition to the absence of judicial review for digital content blocking or removal. According to them, if enacted, the framework has the potential to curb freedom of speech, undermine the flow of information, and promote censorship.