New guidance to help address online abuse

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Senator John Le Fondré was responding to a question from Deputy Inna Gardiner during yesterday’s States sitting. She asked what plans the government had to ‘introduce or enhance legislation in the Island regarding online safety, including measures to address cyber-abuse, cyber-bullying and trolling?’

Senator Le Fondré asked Members to join him in ‘roundly condemning’ the abuse that had been received by Deputy Gardiner and other Members. Deputy Gardiner was branded a ‘flithy NIMBY’ and asked to ‘please die of Covid’ in a Facebook message last month. States Members rallied around the St Helier Deputy after she received the abuse.

The Chief Minister said that despite 2016 legislation being in place around cyber-bullying, where police have powers to prosecute where appropriate, everyone could benefit from ‘greater clarity’ around what was legal or illegal, recourse for
victims and consequences for perpetrators.

The Chief Minister said he was in the process of instructing officers, in consultation with the police, to introduce new guidance to offer greater clarity.

Deputy Louise Doublet asked given the ‘disproportionate impact of many of these comments on women’ whether the Chief Minister would ensure that the work in this area would take a ‘gender-sensitive approach’.

Senator Le Fondré said: ‘As far as I am concerned, all bullying in this area is reprehensible and therefore all bullying in those areas should be treated with the appropriate levels of sensitivity.’

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