Director of Public Prosecutions calls for a more measured approach to unpleasant online speech
The time has come for an informed debate about free speech online, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has said.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) recently decided against prosecuting a man for an "ill-advised" homophobic comment on Twitter about Olympic divers Tom Daley and Pete Waterfield. now DPP Keir Starmer has called for people to take a more measured response.
Mr Starmer said: "Access to social media is ubiquitous and instantaneous. Banter, jokes and offensive comments are commonplace and often spontaneous. Communications intended for a few may reach millions."
Jennifer Perry, who advises the police on digital stalking issues, said: "People understandably react emotionally when something unpleasant is written about them online but that doesn't mean there is a legal case. If the campaign is sustained and has a severe impact on a person, an investigation must be carried out."
The DPP will now hold a public consultation to help develop guidelines for prosecutors to decide whether to charge people.
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