The government is set to expand the current laws regarding offensive material on the internet, such as child pornography and terrorism, to include racism, xenophobia, and hate speech.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, a justice ministry spokesman said the initial law was created in 2004 and exacts a two-pronged process to remove offensive material from the internet in Cyprus.

Under the law, the attorney general in the first instance makes a request to internet providers to block access to the webpage from internet users located in the Republic of Cyprus.

Additionally, in cases where the material is located on social media, the attorney general makes a request to the social media operator for the specific page or account to be taken down.

The amendments to the law have already been drafted by the justice ministry and have now been sent to parliament for deliberation and ratification. The justice ministry expects the amendments to be passed into law within two months.

In addition, the spokesman confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that specific legislation regarding the criminalisation of hate speech already exists and will be used in cases where webpages harbouring racism, xenophobia, and hate speech are taken down.

Earlier, justice minister Anna Prokopiou had spoken at the parliamentary interior committee, calling on deputies to quickly ratify the law.

She also said police are “taking new measures” with the aim of preventing any repetition of the violent scenes witnessed in Limassol earlier this month.