The UK government plans to offer guidelines to social media users to help them avoid breaking Britain’s laws on contempt when posting comments about court cases. The guidelines, which will be posted on a case-by-case basis, aim to avoid a repeat of several high-profile incidents this year where Tweeters have fallen foul of the law.
“Blogs and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook mean that individuals can now reach thousands of people with a single tweet or post,” said attorney general Dominic Grieve. “This is an exciting prospect, but it can pose certain challenges to the criminal justice system.”
Last week, judges handed a 14-month suspended prison sentence to a man who flouted court directions by posting pictures purporting to be of Jon Venables, whose murder of the toddler James Bulger in 1993 sparked a public outcry.
“This is not about telling people what they can or cannot talk about on social media; it’s designed to help facilitate commentary in a lawful way,” said Grieve.
The guidelines will be posted on the AGO section of .gov.uk and on the department’s Twitter feed, @AGO_UK.