This week has seen the strain between the freedom of speech and
You tube and the "Innocence of Muslims"
Google the owners of YouTube rejected a request from
the White House to remove the film "Innocence of Muslims"
from its website. The film which has caused wide spread anger
around the Muslim world can be viewed on YouTube amongst other
sites. Google have agreed to block the film in countries
where it is illegal
includingLibya,Egypt,Indonesia,India andSaudi Arabia.
A YouTube representative told the BBC: "We work hard to
create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people
to express different opinions. This can be a challenge because
what's OK in one country can be offensive
"This video – which is widely available on the
web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay
Google's guidelines on the issue provide "At Google
we have a bias in favour of people's right to free
expression in everything we do. We are driven by a belief that more
information generally means more choice, more freedom and
ultimately more power for the individual. But we also recognise
that freedom of expression can't be — and
shouldn't be — without some limits."
Offensive tweet and Daley
The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC has
announced that new social media rules on abuse are to be issued,
after Team GB diver Tom Daley received an offensive Twitter message
from footballer Daniel Thomas.
Mr Thomas was arrested and released without charge after a
homophobic message referring to Daley and fellow Olympic diver
Peter Waterfield was posted on Twitter.
The Communications Act 2003 makes it an offence to send a
communication using a public electronic communications network if
that communication is "grossly offensive". Although the
tweet was offensive it was viewed as not being "grossly
Mr Starmer said: "Social media is a new and emerging
phenomenon raising difficult issues of principle, which have to be
confronted not only by prosecutors, but also by others including
the police, the courts and service providers...... In my view, the
time has come for an informed debate about the boundaries of free
speech in an age of social media."
It will be interesting to see how the issue of freedom of speech
is dealt with in time to come. It is definitely a difficult one and
there is clearly a balance which needs
to be judged correctly.
Originally published September 24, 2012
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”