(noun) conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.
‘Freedom of Speech’ bestows a citizen with the right to communicate/voice out her/his opinion without the fear of entailing punishment or censorship. However, miscreants sometimes abuse this right to incite insurrection against the established law and order of the land; which makes it necessary for countries to introduce laws that counter sedition.
Here’s how Sedition Laws differ in countries:
1. United States of America
Under Section 2385 of the US Code, it is unlawful for anyone to knowingly teach/advocate the propriety of overthrowing the government, by force. However, in respect for freedom of speech, this law is rarely enforced.
Volksverhetzung (“incitement of the people”) is a legal concept in Germany. The word loosely translates to ‘sedition’, although the law bans the incitement of hatred against any particular race or religion.
Sedition laws are independent of the laws that pertain to hate crime, in Canada. Canadian citizens enjoy liberal freedom as the laws to restrict freedom of speech are rarely enforced upon them. As a matter of fact, there has been no new sedition brought to light after the 20th century.
In the Netherlands, it is a crime to insult the King, the Heir Apparent and their spouse; under Articles 111-113 of the Dutch Penal Code.
The Malaysian Sedition Act 1948 is unique because it comprises not only of laws on sedition against any ruler, ruling government, administration of justice and rights & privileges under the Federal Constitution; but also takes within its purview, prohibitions on racial hate-speech. Read this for further explanation.
Chapter 9 of the Norwegian General Civil Penal Code makes defaming the King/Regent of Norway, a crime. Section 5 of the constitution states: “The King’s person is sacred; he cannot be censured or accused. The responsibility rests with his Council.”
7. New Zealand
Sedition ceased to be a crime following the introduction of The Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill in 2007, which was enforced w.e.f. 1st January 2008.
8. United Kingdom
Section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 abolishes sedition and seditious libel. This came into effect from 12th January 2010. Sedition by an alien (resident but not a national of the country), however, is an offence.
Sedition has been declared as “unconstitutional” in Indonesia, following in the footsteps of their Dutch colonial masters.
10. South Korea
The Republic of Korea did away with its sedition laws during democratic and legal reforms in the year 1988.