Online Bill

Sudhakar. Picture: FILE

Sudhakar. Picture: FILE

THE Online Safety Bill 2018 should not be seen as a Bill that exists to curtail freedom of expression, says chairperson of the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights Ashneel Sudhakar.

He made the comments as the committee received submissions last week.

He said the Bill was designed to protect members of the public — especially minors — and to promote online safety.

He said the offences were outlined in Clause 13 and 24 of the Bill.

“The Bill itself in Section 13 and Section 24 those are the sections that actually create the offence, so it does not actually mean that anything you post on social media or on facebook or any electronic communication becomes an offending material,” Mr Sudhakar said.

“The first element is, there must be an element of harm in the post.”

Mr Sudhakar said people were free to post anything on social media under freedom of expression.

Under Section 13 of the Bill, people can lodge a complaint with the commission if they have reason to believe that they were the subject, or targeted recipient, of electronic communication intended to cause or likely to cause harm.

He said the definition of harm meant causing serious emotional distress.

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