Channel 9 presenter Erin Molan has applauded new cyber safety laws that could see trolls hit with six-figure fines for online bullying.
Channel 9 presenter Erin Molan has applauded new cyber safety laws that could see trolls hit with six-figure fines for online bullying.

Erin Molan reacts to new trolling laws

TV presenter Erin Molan was overcome with emotion after hearing news about Australia's world-first cyber safety laws this week.

The Channel 9 star, who lobbied the government for over a year to stop online bullying, told The Daily Telegraph that introducing six-figure fines is a step in the right direction.

"I was really emotional to be honest. I rang mum, dad, my aunty and a couple of friends around 12:30am so I don't think they appreciated it as much as I did - there were just so many emotions," Molan said"It's been such a passionate fight of mine and so many other people's to try and get something done and to see the government promise something and then really deliver (which politicians aren't always known for doing) was just incredible.

"It's a great start, it's probably more than I expected for a first step. It's certainly not the entire solution but it's a great first step because it essentially takes the focus off the victim … and plants squarely the focus and responsibility on the perpetrator and the platforms which is what's needed for it to stop."

Molan, 37, said some of the worst trolling she endured was during her pregnancy two years ago when threats were made towards her unborn baby Eliza.

"I don't think you ever really forget about it, particularly the really vile stuff," she said.

"Look I'm in the public eye and there's going to be people who like me and don't like me and I'm very comfortable with people expressing that publicly if they feel the need to.

Erin Molan reading a book with her daughter Eliza. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Erin Molan reading a book with her daughter Eliza. Picture: Jonathan Ng

 

Erin Molan breaks down while talking about the online trolling.
Erin Molan breaks down while talking about the online trolling.

"It's the real threatening abuse and the kind of stuff that makes you fear for your life and for your child's safety that I don't think ever leaves you. I remember being heavily pregnant and some of the things that I received made me fear for my safety, you never forget how that feels."

The former NRL Footy Show co-host said keyboard warriors went as far as threatening sexual abuse.

"The beauty of this is the way that we behave in the real world needs to be reflected in the online space because they're essentially one in the same now," she said.

"We move seamlessly between the online world and the real world. There's really no difference and the law needs to reflect that.

"People in the real world would not walk up to me and say 'I'm going to rape your two-year-old child' but an anonymous person on Instagram can send that to me with no consequences. It just doesn't make sense. These new laws will change that and that's why they're so important."

Erin Molan with her daughter Eliza.
Erin Molan with her daughter Eliza.

Molan, who is the daughter of Liberal senator Jim Molan, previously met with Federal Minister for Communications and Cyber Safety, Paul Fletcher, after Facebook told her that there was little they could do about the vile threats she received.

"I didn't want to shame the government into doing anything or try and pressure them publicly, I wanted to do it privately and I did it privately for about six months," she said.

"I met with Paul Fletcher and his staff and they were wonderful."

A proposed bill will be introduced into federal parliament early next year, which would see adults who post "seriously harmful content'' online including death threats and revenge porn fined up to $111,000.

Corporations like Facebook, which owns Instagram, could be fined up to $555,000.

Erin Molan is the daughter of Liberal senator Jim Molan.
Erin Molan is the daughter of Liberal senator Jim Molan.

"It puts a lot of pressure on the platform, the platform has to take responsibility just like you or I do when we write or say something. We take responsibility for it in newspapers, online, on TV, on radio, so social media platforms need to start doing the same thing - they're essentially publishers," Molan said.

"Half a million bucks is a big hit, if they don't review something within 24 hours … and an 'anonymous' troll who's sending death threats or who's threatening to rape my two-year-old daughter. If they don't remove that or if they don't identify that person, they can cop half a million dollars.

"This is a world-first and this is what's needed for them to take it seriously. They see the damage and fallout, they see what happens everyday on their platforms and they don't act because they don't have to. Well now they're going to have to start acting and this is a world-first out of Australia which makes me really proud."

 

Originally published as Erin Molan reacts to new trolling laws


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