Be careful what you say online
While the internet has allowed people to make some truly amazing things, it has also spawned quite a few nasty things, chief of which is cyber bullying. New Zealand has apparently had enough and have passed the Harmful Digital Communications Bill into law, which essentially outlaws cyber-bullying.
The law prohibits sending messages to people that are racist, sexist, critical of their religion, sexuality or disability – essentially if you use “digital communications” to harass people in New Zealand, then you’re in for a rough time. Really nasty offenders are looking at fines as much as NZD 33900, or a whopping Php 1025844, along with a two-year jail term.
To deal with the monumental task of determining what actually constitutes cyber bullying, New Zealand is creating a new agency that would make contact with publishers and social media platforms and to escalate complaints to the district courts. Facebook and Twitter, two of the world’s biggest social media platforms can opt to be a safe harbor if they decide to delete offending messages within 48 hours.
In the Philippines, our closest analogue to New Zealand’s law is our Cybercrime Law, which includes internet libel as an offence. While it’s not as strict as New Zealand’s new law, it does give some measure of protection to people who are victims of cyberbullying.
What do you think? Do we need laws like New Zealand’s to protect ourselves from cyber-bullying?