The UK recently announced that it would revise its prosecution guidelines to make it more difficult to bring legal action against those who create offensive posts online. This announcement is welcome news for the freedom of speech.
During the past couple of years, there has been several high profile prosecutions of people making racist or insensitive comments to others online. While these comments may be offensive, racist, or distasteful, in general they would not have been prosecuted if they occurred in the United States and were directed towards U.S. citizens living in the U.S. at the time the comments were created.
The United States is the greatest protector of free speech. In the United States, the general test for whether free speech crosses the line for criminal prosecution is whether the content is directed at inciting, and is likely to incite, imminent lawless action.
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service has released its interim social media prosecution guidelines and they can be found here. Those who are interested in making public comments about the interim guidelines may do so until March 13, 2013.
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