Japan to start jailing people for online insults

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Posting “online insults” will be punishable by up to a year in prison time in Japan starting Thursday, when a new law passed earlier this summer will go into effect.

People convicted of online insults can also be fined up to 300,000 yen (just over $2,200). Previously, the punishment was fewer than 30 days in prison and up to 10,000 yen ($75).

The law will be reexamined in three years to determine if it’s impacting freedom of expression — a concern raised by critics of the bill. Proponents said it was necessary to slow cyberbullying in the country.

But there aren’t clear definitions of what counts as an insult, Seiho Cho, a criminal lawyer in Japan, told CNN after the law passed. The law says an insult means demeaning someone without a…

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Author: Nicole Wetsman