In my time I`ve had articles, stories and various bits of writing published in the daily press as well as in technical, learned and hobbyist journals safe in the knowledge that a professional journalist working under whatever title would make at least a cursory attempt to ensure that what I had written was not libellous and was not likely to bring the law down upon me or the publisher. Those were the days. In the current age to publish and be damned could end up precisely in that state......or worse.
Every blogger must now be his/her own sub editor. This particular blogger does not have a Facebook or Twitter account unlike many of his contemporaries. This is by design rather than default. The recent sentence of 56 days custody for racist Twitter abuse given to a Swansea University undergraduate was meant to deter others who might be equally careless in their comments on the web and to reflect public outrage. That seemed to be the implication of remarks by the District Judge. There was no report that this offender had any previous. So far, those who believe as does the Criminal Justice Alliance, that immediate custody should be reserved for “serious, persistent and violent offenders for whom no alternative sanction is appropriate” have remained silent. Perhaps their liberal thinking and wish fulfilment stops at racist comments on the internet. It certainly was not silent when those inciting riots last August were jailed for 4 years at Chester Crown Court. At the other end of the sentencing scale a defamation claim in the high court by a former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns was upheld to the extent of £90,000 in damages for words published on Twitter by the former chairman of the Indian Premier League.
My eyes have seen the story of the coming of the law [to the tune of.....] and find this post fit for publication.
Appeal against sentence given to Swansea student twitterer Liam Stacey for matters referred to above has today been dismissed.