PEN International Declaration on Digital Freedom :
” PEN recognizes the promise of digital media as a means of fulfilling the fundamental right of free expression. At the same time, poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists, writers, bloggers, and journalists are suffering violations of their right to freedom of expression for using digital media. Citizens in many countries have faced severe restrictions in their access to and use of digital media, while governments have exploited digital technologies to suppress freedom of expression and to surveil individuals”
Irish Government proposes an Oireachtas Committee to regulate social-media
” An Oireachtas committee is to investigate abuses of social media and make a report to Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte early next year.
The Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications is shortly to invite submissions and expressions of interest from individuals and groups on the Oireachtas website. This will be followed by private and public hearings.
Committee chairman Tipperary South Fine Gael TD Tom Hayes said yesterday he was concerned about the growth of cyberbullying and abusive remarks generally made on social media.
“People have to be made accountable for what they are saying,” he added. “Members of the public across a wide section of Irish life are being subjected to bullying and harassment.”
” The committee on transport and communications has announced a knee-jerk review to determine if regulation or legislation is required when it’s obvious that neither is necessary.
We already have legislation that can be used to prosecute cyberbulling, the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. Section 10 of that act states that any person who, “without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, by any means including by use of the telephone, harasses another by persistently following, watching, pestering, besetting or communicating with him or her, shall be guilty” of the offence of harassment. Barrister Fergal Crehan, in a recent blog post, noted that the section was last year successfully applied to a case in which the harassment was conducted entirely via email and featured no physical violence.
So, the means of the communication, really, is immaterial. All that is important is that a defendant “acts intentionally or recklessly [and] seriously interferes with the [victim’s] peace and privacy or causes alarm, distress or harm”.
Patently, there is absolutely no reason why threatening messages sent via social networking sites could not also be prosecuted using the same section.”