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Social media users warned over court case comments

There is a public misconception that the internet is somehow a free speech zone to which the criminal and civil law does not apply. That is being corrected.

The British attorney general has taken action against three men who used Twitter and Facebook to publish photographs purporting to be of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, the murderers of the toddler James Bulger, as grown- ups. They breached a worldwide injunction preventing publication of any material that could identify the two killers.

Last year nine people were prosecuted for posting the name of the woman raped by former Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans, on various social media sites. All nine claimed that they did not know it was a criminal offence to name the victim of a sexual offence. Ignorance was no defence.

Instant publication on the internet can go viral at an astonishing rate but so too can the message that the criminal and civil law applies to it as much as to a considered newspaper article. Education on the law of contempt is likely to spread very rapidly online.

Read the full story on the BBC News website: BBC NEWS



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