Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Swaziland Govt. wants law to make it illegal to send social media posts that cause ‘emotional distress’


The Swaziland (eSwatini) Government wants to introduce a law making it illegal to post material online that would deliberately cause a victim serious emotional distress.


The Harmful Digital Communications Bill intends to deter, prevent and mitigate harm caused to individuals by harmful digital communications and provide victims of harmful digital communications with a quick and efficient means of redress.


On conviction, offenders face a minimum fine of E500,000 (US$27,000) and a maximum fine of E5 million or a jail sentence of up to seven years. 


A ‘victim’ is the person who is the target of a posted digital communication.


The Harmful Digital Communications Bill, 2020 has been prepared by the Swazi  Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology. This is the same ministry that last week withdrew the Computer Crime and Cybercrime Bill, 2020 that could have sent people who published ‘fake news’ to jail for 10 years. It is expected it will be re-presented after consultations have been completed. 


The proposed law would impact on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp.


Human Rights Commissioner Sabelo Masuku told the Times Sunday newspaper (15 November 2020) in Swaziland the new Bill was no different from the withdrawn Computer Crime and Cybercrime Bill.



See also


Swaziland Govt. withdraws controversial Computer Crime Bill, seeks more discussion

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