by A. Spreeman
New Zealand’s government has passed the Harmful Digital Communications Bill, which declares that cyberbullying is a criminal offense.
That’s a good thing, right? Wait a minute, Christian. Not so fast. Read between the lines:
Anyone using digital communications like Facebook, Twitter or other apps in a way that causes “serious emotional distress” is considered to be breaking the law and could face a number of punishments. Posts that are deemed to be racist, sexist, speaking badly of someone’s sexual orientation or a disability, or showing religious intolerance are all covered by the bill.
That means someone could report your post or comment by simply saying they were hurt by what you said.
Ramifications of committing the newly-declared crimes include mediation, fines of up to $33,900 (US) or even time in jail. If business are found guilty of infringing, fines of up to $134,000 (US) can be imposed.
It has also been made an offense to incite suicide in any way, and doing so could land you with a three-year jail sentence. Oftentimes Leftists tell Christians that because we stand for the biblical definition of marriage between one man and one woman, and that all sexual sin is sin, we incite young people who are gender confused to end their lives.
Web publishers can opt in to a safe-harbor provision, protecting them from liability (and arguably also crimping free speech) if they agree to take down allegedly offending material on demand or at least within a grace period of 48 hours.
Anyone who shares Scripture or articles about biblical truth could fall under these laws. Your religious freedoms as you knew them could be shredded, if legislation like this is ever passed in America.