The New Zealand Law Commission says the government should introduce sweeping new measures to fight cyber bullying, including a new Communications Tribunal that would have the power to name-and-shame online offenders and force Internet service providers or websites to take down content. It is also proposing a new electronic communications offense for those aged 14 and over.

Project leader Professor John Burrows says overseas jurisdictions — including the United Kingdom, Australia and some states in America — were moving to criminalize online harassment causing serious distress and mental harm. “We are recommending New Zealand follow this lead and criminalize grossly offensive digital communications when they cause serious mental or emotional distress,” Professor Burrows says.

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