October 4, 2022

Posting “online insults” is punishable by up to a year in prison in Japan from Thursday, when a new law is passed earlier this summer. into effect.

People convicted of online insults can also be fined up to 300,000 yen (just over $2,200). Previously, the penalty was less than 30 days in prison and up to 10,000 yen ($75).

The law will be reviewed within three years to determine whether it affects freedom of expression – a concern raised by critics of the bill. Supporters said it was necessary to slow down online bullying in the country.

But there are no clear definitions of what is considered an insult, Seiho Cho, a criminal lawyer in Japan, He told CNN After the law is passed. The says the law Insult means insulting someone without having a specific truth about them – unlike defamation, which classifies it as insulting someone with reference to a certain fact about them. “Currently, even if someone called the leader of Japan an idiot, perhaps under the amended law it could be considered an insult,” Zhou said.

Japanese officials have cracked down on cyberbullying after reality TV star Hana Kimura, who was abused online, died by suicide. Her mother pushed for more anti-online bullying policies after her death. some research It shows an association between suicidal behaviors and cyberbullying, although most research has been done in children and adolescents.

The UK also has laws criminalizing “extremely offensive” public messages, and people have been arrested and fined for tweets. The language in its policies is also vague, and courts decide what constitutes a “scandalous” attack on a case-by-case basis.

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