After several celebrities have been targeted by angry online commenters following their controversial comments on serious subjects such as sexual assaults, such as Chloe Madeley, the daughter of former TV hosts Richard and Judy, the government and lawmakers are considering increasing the sentence for posting ultra-venomous online comments, The Daily Mail is reporting.
Of course, these proposals must first go through the complicated process of being written into the law, and will be subject to extensive debate through the usual government channels. But what has caused the increased attention?
Apart from the Chloe Madeley scandal, the recent harassment of kidnapped toddler Madeline McCann’s parents, as well as recent Twitter wars as well as the prevalence of harassment throughout Twitter’s site is potentially another factor. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling spoke out about the issue of the incredibly offensive posts spreading online.
“These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life”
“No one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media”
– Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary, HM Government
The new proposal attempts to quadruple the time trolls could spend behind bars under the Malicious Communications Act. Currently up to 6 months sentence in jail can be handed out to trolls, whereas the new proposal wants it to be as much as 2 years, or 24 months.
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The law change would be proposed as an amendment to the existing Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which is currently doing the rounds in Parliament. The amendment, as well as the rest of the bill, is scheduled for debate in the House of Lords in the next week or two.
Whether the proposed lengthened sentences will only apply to those involved in high profile cases which have achieved massive media coverage is as of yet not understood, but the general atmosphere around internet trolling and the law is that the most likely to get caught are those who offend celebrities.
That said, almost anyone could be reported for their harassment and come a-cropper under the law, if it is passed that is. Post with caution, and please don’t harass anyone.
Source: The Daily Mail