11-year-old Zach Ealing successfully creates new law against internet trolls

Ministers confirmed yesterday that the new offence of using tweets, gifs (animated images) and emails to trigger epileptic seizures will become law. Zach wanted to stop bullies who targeted him and other epilepsy sufferers using flashing social media messages.

His mother Claire, 40, said: “He was so excited at the good news. He is obviously so made up. He is so pleased and so proud to be part of it. We are really proud of him. His school friends are really impressed.”

Zach, who also has cerebral palsy, launched his campaign after a fundraising walk two years ago. Online trolls bombarded his supporters’ social media accounts with flashing lights and at least three people suffered minor seizures.

Tech minister Chris Philp said: “We are strengthening our laws to make the UK the safest place in the world for children to go online so that what happened to brave Zach can’t happen again.”

“Now we’ll make it a crime to carry out epilepsy attacks, so we can bring these online trolls to justice.”

The Daily Express backed Zach, from Hartshead, West Yorks, as part of our Unmask The Online Trolls campaign.

COMMENT KIM LEADBEATER

ZACH is an amazing boy – funloving and cheeky, obsessed with football and a brave little fighter.

Now, aged just 11, he’s on the verge of changing the law.

When I met him and his mum, Claire, I was blown away by their energy and determination.

I promised them my support in Parliament and this week we had a breakthrough. Zach has epilepsy and has suffered shocking abuse online by evil people who deliberately tried to cause him to have a seizure. Now Zach’s Law, as it was named, will make such malicious and cruel online bullying illegal.

On Tuesday, the Government promised me that the law will be introduced soon, as Zach – with the backing of the Epilepsy Society and the Daily Express – has been demanding.

Hundreds and thousands of people will soon be protected. The decision took a while, but with cross-party support, Parliament is about to do the right thing.

For me, it’s what makes being an MP worthwhile.

Zach called me and told me he was over the moon at the news. I am incredibly proud of him.

Today Yorkshire has a new hero. Zach has fought and won.

Kim Leadbeater MBE, Labour MP for Batley and Spen 

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