Proposed anti-harassment law covering online bullying introduced in Parliament

Posed photo of a person crouching in a corner in desolation with a laptop in the foreground to illustrate a story on online bullying (cyber bullying). A new proposed law that will cover online bullying was introduced in Parliament on Monday, March 3,
Posed photo of a person crouching in a corner in desolation with a laptop in the foreground to illustrate a story on online bullying (cyber bullying). A new proposed law that will cover online bullying was introduced in Parliament on Monday, March 3, 2014. The new Protection from Harassment Bill will consolidate existing anti-harassment legislation and expand it to cover online behaviour.  -- ST PHOTO: MOHD ISHAK

A new proposed law that will cover online bullying was introduced in Parliament on Monday. The new Protection from Harassment Bill will consolidate existing anti-harassment legislation and expand it to cover online behaviour.

The proposed law makes stalking an offence, with a maximum penalty of a fine up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to a year.

The Bill also encompasses sexual harassment in and out of the office, as well as certain acts committed outside Singapore. Harassment penalties would be increased and enhanced penalties will be provided for repeat offenders.

It will also provide more options for victims seeking redress. The court can grant an Expedited Protection Order in urgent circumstances and victims can also ask the court to order the removal of offending material online, or make offenders put an alert highlighting the inaccurate parts.

Other provisions in the anti-harassment Bill include extending protection to workers who deliver essential services, such as public health care and transport. The Bill will undergo a second reading in Parliament on March 13.