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Tweets and trolls: should the UK prosecute offensive comments on social media?

Wednesday 12 December 2012, 5.15PM to 18:45

Speaker(s): John Kampfner, Former Chief Executive, Index on Censorship Stephen Bowen, Director, British Institute of Human Rights Discussants: Seb Brixey-Williams from York PEN and Robin Sukatorn from University of York Amnesty International

A Swansea University student served 28 days in jail for tweeting offensive and racist comments after footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed. A teenager was sentenced to 12 weeks at a young offenders’ institution for "abhorrent" comments about the disappearance of April Jones. These are not isolated cases, and the Crown Prosecution Service is now reviewing how it deals with social media.

Author and journalist John Kampfner is an external adviser to Google on free expression and culture and an adviser to the Global Network Initiative, which brings together technology companies and civil society to address human rights issues.

Stephen Bowen is Visiting Professor at Queen Mary (University of London) and former Campaigns Director at Amnesty International UK.


Location: The Ron Cooke Hub, Lecture Theatre (Room 037), Heslington East Campus, University of York

Admission: Free