IWhat is harrassement and what is free speech?

United States
May 6, 2009 10:24am CST
A new bill (HR1966) has been introduced. It is called the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act. It was introduced by Linda Sanchez (d-ca) and has 14 co-sponsors. This bill would make it a crime punishable by two years in jail to: "harrass any person by ciriticizing then in a severe, repeated or hostile manner causing substantial emotional distress". Seem pretty harmless right? We don't want children or teenagers bullying each other , even online. We all have heard of the case were that girl committed suicide over a cyber bully. But with the way it is worded it includes public figure. SO are we not allowed to criticize our political figures anymore? If so will we go to jail? Think about it. A lot of you are bloggers (like me) and most of what I and a lot of you have to say is not pretty about our elected officials. And it could cause them severe emotional distress if it caused them to have to resign or get voted out of office in the next election.So could we be facing two years in jail for it? Really think about the wider implications of this bill and what it could mean to free speech. Do you think the wording needs to changed? Or should people not be allowed to critize political and public figures?
4 people like this
5 responses
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
6 May 09
Well we all should be able to speak out (freedom of speech), but not verbal abuse & that is what people don't seem to understand. Calling someone a fat-something-something isn't really freedom of speech, it's hate & this new bill is basicly just trying to stop hate online & offline. People need to learn to word things right & stop with the hate or, I guess deal with the punishment. I agree with the bill...
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
7 May 09
But who says what verbal abuse is. You may draw a line in the sand but someone may draw the line in the sand past yours. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech without regulation.
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
7 May 09
Freedom of speech shouldn't be based on hate anyway... You can still have your free speech & not be hateful to that one person. I read the bill & I understand what it's stating & I feel ok with it.
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
6 May 09
Just another attempt to control the last refuge of free speech. Like I have said before we have no control over the media, I cannot buy air time or commercials. Their are those that are trying to silence talk radio. So what is left the internet. Who is to say what cyberbullying is? Would cyberbulling include coming on MyLot and harassing someone repetitively just because they disagree with them? Then who defines that harassment, some politically appointed judge? This is just not needed, it is called ignore them. Take for instance before the election there was an individual for felt that it was his duty to defend Barack Obama at every turn. Of course his annoying answer to everything was this has been debunked by the Obama website. Funny how he disappeared right after the election. The easiest way to handled him was just to ignore him. I even told him that I was going to ignore him from here on out. He still replied that same way he always replied, but I did not even read his response. Maybe instead of a new law we just did to learn that some time you can just ignore people and they will go away.
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
6 May 09
Freedom of Speech is understandable, but calling someone hateful names & harrassing them isn't understandable & should not be allowed. Ignore doesn't always work online.... You can't just walk up to someone & cuss them from left to right & harrass them on the streets without some kind of punishment, so why should it be allowed online as well? Also, disagreeing with someone isn't cyber bullying.... your off a little there...
@Fortunata (1136)
• United States
7 May 09
Heh, first thing I thought of, they're going after the bloggers. Obama sure is giving his lawyer peeps a lot of work, hey?
@mommaj (22770)
• United States
7 May 09
Wow there's a good one. I would have to say that bill needs a lot of work and a lot of clarity. That's so vague saying postal workers go postal 50 times in the post office you can go to jail. Definitely needs clarity.
@nielcdg (709)
• Philippines
6 May 09
I agree with you on that point that we should have the right to speak out, but at times we forget many things when we are given freedom of speech, yes we are free to say things we want but that doesnt mean we should forget tact, intelligence and civilness when expressing ourselves. I think that is what this Law is trying to instill to the American minds, we can say things but It doesn't say we should. We can say things in a manner that is not degrading and yet keep the message of anger and outrage...its not sugar coating but again its Tact and Intelligence we have hundreds of words with Miriam...I think many journalists should begin researching them again and not use profanity. But there are still some instances where even the most intelligent and well made arguement is still seen as something against the law...then that is the instance where this law I believe is misused :) Cheers!!