UUP leader Mike Nesbitt to introduce Prviate Member's Bill to update NI's libel laws

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt to introduce Prviate Member’s Bill to update NI’s libel laws

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt MLA says Northern Ireland needs to update its defamation laws in Northern Ireland in a bid to clamp down onĀ abusive messages on social media outlets.

The Strangford MLA said so-called “trolling” led to the suicide of 14-year-old Hannah Smith in England.

The teenager had been subjected to personal abuse on the website

Mr Nesbitt said: “This controversy highlights the difficulty of ensuring that the owners of these social media sites, including Twitter, act swiftly to block inappropriate messages and report the authors to the police.

“Under the proposals I intend to bring forward in a Private Member’s Bill, there would be a legal obligation on the operators of these sites to disclose the authors of offensive and defamatory messages, otherwise the operators themselves would be held liable.

“The operator would also be held liable if they failed to react to a complaint in an appropriate and timely fashion.

“Our defamation laws were drawn up well before the invention of the Internet, and are long overdue an update.

“That is why I am so surprised the former Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson MP MLA, made his unilateral decision not to keep Northern Ireland in line with Great Britain by adopting the 2013 Defamation Act coming out of Westminster.”


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