(ORDO NEWS) — In Japan, a new law has been passed, according to which they will give a year in prison for insults online. Previously, the punishment was much more lenient, but a tragic incident changed everything.
The new amendments to the Criminal Code were approved on Monday, June 20, and will come into effect later in the summer.
If earlier online offenders could get off with a fine of 10,000 yen or 30 days in prison, now this amount has increased to 300,000 yen (approximately $ 2,200) or one year in prison.
Punishment is getting tougher – why?
The country’s authorities changed their views on this issue after a resonant incident. 22-year-old wrestling star Hana Kimura could not stand the flow of insults and criticism on the network and committed suicide.
As a result of the investigation, the authorities have already punished two people, but the fines look symbolic – only 9,000 yen ($67). Hana’s mother, Kyoko Kimura, a former wrestler and media personality herself, called the punishment too lenient, and most of the Japanese public agreed with her.
Long-term disputes stood in the way of the adoption of the new law.
– Opponents argued that he could interfere with freedom of speech and criticism in power.
– However, fans have stated that legislation needs to be strengthened to combat cyberbullying and online harassment.
The deputies had to make mutual concessions. As a result, the law was passed only after a provision was added requiring it to be reconsidered three years after entry into force to assess the impact on freedom of expression.
However, even after this, questions still remain. For example, criminal lawyer Seiho Cho warned that the text of the law is not specific about what exactly constitutes an insult.
We need a recommendation that would distinguish between what qualifies as an insult.
For example, if someone calls the leader of Japan an idiot, then perhaps under the revised law, this could be qualified as an insult, says Cho.
Today, according to the media, the Japanese Criminal Code distinguishes between the concepts of “insult” and “defamation” (slander), but their descriptions are rather vague, which makes it possible to manipulate the law.
Death of Hana Kimura:
– The 22-year-old professional wrestler is best known for her role in the Netflix show Terrace House.
– The reason for her action was not immediately clear, although shortly before her death, she published a series of disturbing messages on social networks, alleging that she had been cyberbullied.
In particular, Kimura wrote that she “no longer wants to be human.” According to media reports, the woman was the target of hundreds of angry tweets daily.
– Her latest Instagram update featured a photo with a cat and the caption “Goodbye”.
– After the death of her daughter Kyoko, Kimura advocated for stronger anti-cyberbullying laws and founded a non-profit organization called Remember Hana to raise awareness about cyberbullying.
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