Pondering cyberbullying legislation in Singapore

Pondering cyberbullying legislation in Singapore

Summary: The announcement that Singapore possibly could have cyberbullying legislation has got commentators all hot and bothered.Some suggested an Internet code of conduct, while others pointed to finetuning that proposal with a bottom-up instead of a top-down approach.

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TOPICS: Legal
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The announcement that Singapore possibly could have cyberbullying legislation has got commentators all hot and bothered.

Some suggested an Internet code of conduct, while others pointed to finetuning that proposal with a bottom-up instead of a top-down approach. Others lamented that the current state of law allowed perpetrators to easily put up damning content while the victims would have to go to great lengths and cost to take such content down.

Some of those points are legitimate. We do know that the real-world laws do apply to the Internet. However, these laws are sometimes akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut. There is a whole plethora of activity, whether mischievous or juvenile--but wrong--which needs to be monitored. These range from humiliating comments to playground-bully type activity.

However, there is a class of victims who also possess an unusually fragile demeanor. This should not be held against them, but to jump at every comment made would also be plain wrong.

My suggestion for legislation here is not to have laws, as we know the law can be a very blunt tool. Instead, we can have a monitoring system with a little bit of bite--one that is not entirely toothless but with limited powers to remove and, perhaps, order counselling. It certainly should not have the full weight of law.

It is a little bit like school, where we have the ability to wave the stick to correct behavior before it gets out of hand.

For the recalcitrant, maybe, the law then can step in after three strikes.

Topic: Legal

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