Online trolls face prosecution under UK legal guidelines

Derogatory Twitter hashtags or manipulated images (of victims) could justify criminal charges under new legal guidelines for England and Wales. An explanation and discussion of the new guidelines in the Financial Times (online) make clear that ‘offensive actions would have to be serious’ and that ‘we will prosecute in the same way as if you did it offline’ (Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions). The article clarifies that the Crown Prosecution Service aims to ‘make online” trolls” more accountable for their actions while trying not to stifle freedom of speech’. The article details four categories of offence: 1. threats of violence; 2; targeted harassment or stalking; breaches of court order or prohibition; anything else that can be considered ‘grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false’.