Draft Law Proposes Up to 5 Years Imprisonment for Hate Speech, Disinformation

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Addis Ababa  June 7/2019 A draft law suggests that persons committing the act of spreading hate speech and disinformation be punished up to a maximum of 5 years imprisonment.

The Office of the Attorney General has organized a meeting that gathers inputs for the draft from stakeholders today.

Deputy Attorney General, Gedion Timothewos said on the occasion that proper care was taken to ensure that the rights of citizens, especially freedom of expression, is not hampered by the new law.

The law which protects the wellbeing of citizens will, however, penalize persons who spread hate speech and disinformation from a minimum of 1 year up to 5 years of imprisonment, he added.

Those with least offenses would be penalized to conduct social services, it was learned.

“By using all possible ways, we need to minimize any risk that could happen from dissemination of hate speech and disinformation and this law will do that,” Gedion noted.

Some participants have, on the other hand, raised concerns about the fair implementation of the law and the objectivity of identifying the intent and impact of the offender.

Others demanded that the government be held accountable wherever appropriate.