Thursday, 7 March 2013

Twitter and the long arm of the law

Few people seem to realise they can be fined or jailed for the content of their tweets...

A student who racially abused footballer Fabrice Muamba received a 56 day sentence in March 2012 …

lThe same month as a law student was given 2 years community service after pleading guilty to racially abusing ex-footballer Stan Collymore on Twitter.

lKuwait jailed a citizen in January 2013 for tweeting an insult about the emir 
Lord McAlpine is suing 500 Twitter users for tweeting he was a paedophile (he's offering to let users with less than 500 followers off if they donate £25 to Children in Need). He's suing Sally Bercow for £50,000 damages 
See David Conn's analysis of an official report into the racism and other abuse footballers and clubs have received on Twitter and other social media.
lThe Attorney General is seeking fines or imprisonment for the Twitter (and Facebook) users who posted pictures of Jamie Bulger, in contempt of court proceedings. Google, Facebook + Twitter were all ordered to remove the pictures.
Another tweeter was arrested in July 2012 for messages about Tom Daley's late father.
Back in August 2012 The Guardian published a list of 10 ways in which Twitter users could find themselves in court.
The case that perhaps best demonstrates how far the police are prepared to get involved over tweets concerns a joke, but was no laughing matter for the tweeter involved, who was found guilty and faced jail after 3 trials, but finally won his freedom after his third appeal succeeded at the High Court and his conviction was quashed.
Here's some resources to help you explore this case, gather 5 key facts, and 5 specific arguments for and/or against his conviction:
Lets start with the Wiki on the case! 
Here's an editorial from The Guardian on the case; 
After the publicity the case recieved, the legal guidelines on when to prosecute social media users was altered to prevent unnecessary prosecutions in future - here's a BBC summary
There are yet more Guardian articles here, or simply try googling 'twitter joke trial' with additional search terms. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Only registered users can comment. Please note that all comments are moderated prior to publication.