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Cyberbullying: LGBT Concerns

in NEW ZEALAND, 22/11/2013

Although undoubtedly formulated with commendable intent, the Key administration's Harmful Digital Communications Bill is inadequate in some areas. In 2012, the New Zealand Law Commission reported back to current Justice Minister Judith Collins with its analysis, a report entitled Harmful Digital Communications: The Adequacy of Current Sanctions.

The report notes that the ease and speed of online verbal bullying and its distribution require some imposition of penalties for regular offenders, particularly in the context of those who drive someone to commit suicide. This bill establishes a civil enforcement regime, and will amend Section 179 of the Crimes Act to create a new offence, "incitement to suicide." It is intended to provide effective remedies and proportional responses to instances of cyberbullying which will compell abusers to take down destructive online content, cease harmful conduct and publicise the identities of perpetrators. It is intended to encompass all digital communications and will be assisted in its enforcement and implementation by a suitable information technology expert. Clause 19 of the proposed bill defines what what is meant by harm, establish due penalties, assess the factors involved and amend the Harrassment Act 1997, the Human Rights Act 1993 and the Privacy Act 1993. Read more

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