Justice Minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Claudio Bresciani / TT.
Justice Minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Claudio Bresciani / TT.

Justice Minister: those spreading hate online should be liable

Justice Minister Morgan Johansson want Swedish legislation to be tightened so that individual users can be punished for threats and violations posted on their social media pages.

In February, a government report proposed a new law that would make it a criminal offense to disseminate images or other data which would do harm to victims, such as the spread of so-called revenge porn or making online threats. That draft law is currently out for consultations.

But one of the big questions for the legislation is who should be held criminally responsible for stopping the spread of threats and violations online.

The report proposes, among other things, that those providing the online service, such as Facebook, should have a greater responsibility to stop the spread.

But Johansson told newspaper Dagens Nyheter that he would like to see the individuals posting the material or even just sharing it punished, too.

"Facebook also has a responsibility to stop the proliferation of threats, but police and prosecutors will go to the individual," he said.

Johansson said he has high hopes that the new law will be in force next year, and that it will lead to a better climate on the web.

He added that the law must only cover illegal threats or unlawful infringement of privacy so as not to violate people's freedom of expression.

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