Thursday, December 20, 2012

Britain Takes a Step Back From the Free Speech Abyss

Finally, a little bit of common sense from the UK of all places!

New guidelines have been issued to 'raise the bar' on the online comments that distinguish between offensive and criminal. 

"Under the new guidelines, most if not all of a recent rash of high-profile cases would probably not have been prosecuted, including a youth who was sent to jail for 12 weeks for posting crude jokes about two kidnapped girls and another young man who was sentenced to 240 hours of community service for declaring on Facebook that British soldiers “should die and go to hell.”

"Critics of the prosecutions noted that such comments might raise eyebrows and draw disapproving looks if spoken aloud in a pub, but online they suddenly become criminal offenses. Civil-liberties activists warned of a chilling effect on free speech. Starmer agreed, and consulted lawyers, police and other experts on setting a higher threshold for prosecution."