New Penal Code proposal controversy

A NEW Penal Code modification proposed by the government violates freedom of expression, according to PDLI.

PDLI, which stands for ‘Platform for the Defence of Information Freedom,’ has condemned the new Penal Code proposal, which could introduce changes such as criminalising ‘cyber activism,’ looking up ‘suspicious’ sites on the internet (especially those regarding the glorification of terrorism), which could translate into an eight-year prison sentence for the user.

Head of the PDLI, Carlos Sanchez Almeida said that the new measures could lead to a ‘global criminalisation of the internet.’

A user who publicly ‘glorifies or justifies crimes’ online could face a three-year prison sentence with the new law.

In addition, eight-year prison sentences could be faced by “those who usually look up one or more communication, publicly accessible services online, or acquires or owns documents which are aimed, due to its content, at encouraging others to join a terrorist group or organisation,” according to the official text. This sentence would also apply to users who look up websites which are not Spanish.

The PP conservative party, in charge of the government, wishes to make the sentences even stricter if the glorification of crimes takes place on social media or other internet sites.

Amongst those modifications which could potentially violate freedom of expression, the PDLI quotes the following: “The distribution or public spreading of messages or slogans which urge others to commit crimes regarding the disruption of public order,” which would also apply to protests or demonstrations promoted on social media, with sentences that range between 12 months to a year in prison.

The law will consider the organiser of prosecuted demonstration a person who “without having created the communication, due to publications or declarations, oral or written, can be reasonably appointed as the organiser.”

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