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New Zealand mulls new media regulation to stop cyber-bullying

08-15-2012 17:25 BJT

WELLINGTON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government is considering a proposal for a communications tribunal that could regulate new media in a bid to prevent cyber-bullying.

The recommendation, in a report on cyber-bullying by the New Zealand Law Commission, was one of a set of proposals being considered, Justice Minister Judith Collins said Wednesday.

The tribunal would have the authority to issue take-down orders and cease-and-desist notices to those who abused new media to bully others.

The commission also recommended creating a new crime targeting digital communication that was grossly offensive or indecent, obscene or menacing, and which caused harm, as well as amending existing laws to ensure they applied to digital communications, including making it an offence to incite a person to commit suicide, whether the person did or not.

"Bullying has long been a problem, but its reach and impact has increased considerably in our digital age," Collins said in a statement.

"Bullying is no longer confined to the classroom or playground - - bullies are targeting their victims by cellphone, instant messaging devices and social networking websites," she said.

"We must not underestimate the devastating impact this new form of bullying has, particularly on young people -- it is contributing to increased truancy, failure at school and emotional problems such as depression, self-harm and suicide."

The main opposition Labour Party said it would also consider the recommendations of the Law Commission, but urged caution against heavy Internet regulation.

"Cyber bullying is all too common in the virtual world, and more needs to be done to address the problem. It is important people, and children in particular, are free to enjoy the internet without fear of bullying and intimidation," Labour's communications spokesperson Clare Curran said in a statement.

"But at the same time, we must guard against heavy-handed attempts at online regulation. Historically, the internet has proved hard to control through legislation and we must proceed carefully."



Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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