- Critics say the proposals mean heedless insults could result in prison sentences
- Someone who creates hate speech that threatens life should expect three years
- Aggravating factors include activity ‘in a particularly sensitive social climate’
Social media users who share or comment on racist or anti-gay postings will face jail under rules proposed yesterday.
Advice for judges and magistrates recommends harsh punishments for those found guilty of stirring up hatred against racial, religious or sexual minority groups.
Among those jailed should be people who post comments or share online hate speech because they have been reckless as to whether they stir up hatred, say the proposals from the Sentencing Council
Social media users in the UK who share or comment on racist or anti-gay postings will face jail under rules proposed yesterday
Those found guilty of hate trolling by commenting or sharing social media should typically receive a sentence of six months in jail.
Anyone who is convicted of orginating hate speech that threatens anyone’s life or which is widely distributed should expect three years.
Even someone whose words or material were judged as hateful, but were not considered to have threatened life or reached a big audience, is likely to be punished with a year in jail.
But critics say the proposals will mean young people who heedlessly throw insults against racial, religious or sexual groups on the internet are at risk of prison sentences.
The recommendations, which will be subject to a three-month consultation, come at a time of deepening sensitivity to racism and abuse about sexuality online.
On top of long-standing concerns about material posted by extremists, accusations have been levelled against those in mainstream politics and other well-known individuals.