Twitter seems to be in the news a lot recently. Or more accurately, causing the news. We all know about the storm surrounding whether or not a certain gentleman was libeled by Twitter users and a certain current affairs programme. I am not getting into that argument, for argument it is and I don’t want his name on my blog and to possibly get dragged into the row.
This is raising the question about how people use Twitter and if anything they say can be taken down and used against them in court. It is quickly spiralling out of control and I think the world needs to get a grip.
Now Channel 4 are asking on their blog about whether we need a Green Cross Code for blogging. All because apparently Sally Bercow asked what was happening in the case of the schoolgirl who had been in the news for going to France with her teacher. A school girl that apparently we are now no longer allowed to name because children who are the subject of court cases are granted anonymity.
Did you know that?! I didn’t. Do most people? Yes, the law makes sense on this point as it concerns a minor but do people know they can’t name her? And if they do, inadvertently, on Twitter they are liable to a fine of £5000.
I wrote a blog post about that particular school girl where I clearly named her. Her name was in the title of the post. If I now link to that post on Twitter am I going to jail? I am not allowed to name her now but I am allowed to have an archived post. The post is here, in case you missed it before: blog post about a girl we can no longer name
What have I said that is libelous?! Nothing. The same amount that Sally Bercow did with her Tweet where she simply asked if anybody knew what had happened to the teacher accused in the case. Yet Sally Bercow has now deleted her Twitter account and is facing a possible law suit over this, and the Tweet relating to the current affairs gentleman.
My original post was my opinion on the whole case. Are we no longer allowed an opinion? OR TO EVEN ASK A QUESTION?!!!! That is all Sally did this week, asked a question and named somebody in the case so people would know who she was talking about when confined to 140 characters.
On blogs or on Twitter if we ask these questions now or ask why something is trending we run the risk of being sued. This is a very slippery slope. Some would say it is encroaching on our Freedom of Speech. Now of course we shouldn’t be able to say anything we like about everybody, it is right that we have libel laws in genuine cases but shouting “contempt” to people who may or may have slipped up?
You will note in that blog that I was very careful to state it was my opinion and I was not stating things as facts as I didn’t know the facts but the idea that by reposting that blog now I am in contempt is, well, just barking.
And if I have just put my foot in it but bringing this subject up will one of you organise a whip round to post bail for me?