Japan Makes 'Online Insults' Punishable By One Year
Tuesday June 14, 2022. 08:00 PM , from Slashdot
Japan's parliament has passed legislation making 'online insults' punishable by imprisonment amid rising public concern over cyberbullying sparked by the suicide of a reality television star who had faced social media abuse. From a report: Under the amendment to the country's penal code -- set to take effect later this summer -- offenders convicted of online insults can be jailed for up to one year, or fined 300,000 yen (about $2,200). It's a significant increase from the existing punishments of detention for fewer than 30 days and a fine of up to 10,000 yen ($75). The bill proved controversial in the country, with opponents arguing it could impede free speech and criticism of those in power. However, supporters said the tougher legislation was needed to crack down on cyberbullying and online harassment. It was only passed after a provision was added, ordering the law be re-examined three years after it goes into effect to gauge its impact on freedom of expression.
Under Japan's penal code, insults are defined as publicly demeaning someone's social standing without referring to specific facts about them or a specific action, according to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Justice. The crime is different to defamation, defined as publicly demeaning someone while pointing to specific facts. Both are punishable under the law.
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