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Cyber bullying laws to be weakened

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The Coalition is expected to announce today that the proposed changes to internet bullying policy promised in the September federal election will be watered down.

The decision follows a year of tech giants Google, Twitter and Facebook putting pressure on the government, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

The proposed changes included a new cyber-bullying commissioner with the power to remove offensive material and new criminal offences designed to specifically to penalise cyber-bullies.

Today, parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher, is expected to announce that the new commissioner will focus only on children, not adults, and new criminal offences will not be created.

Instead, the government will rely on existing laws combined with a new civil penalty scheme to punish bullies.

The weakening of the proposed laws means that older victims of cyber-bullying like Charlotte Dawson will not receive legal protection. Dawson, 47, committed suicide in February after being the target of Twitter bullies.