Brid Jordan writes:
Addressing the Westminster Media Forum on the regulation of privacy and online media earlier today Baroness Buscombe, Chairman of the PCC [Press Complaints Commission – Dissent], referred to the PCC’s decision in Baskerville (see a report of that decision here). Faced with some criticism of the decision, described by one commentator at the event as “illiberal”, Baroness Buscombe explained that in this decision the PCC had sought to “put a marker down” that “Twitter is very public”.
She explained that the PCC’s decision was not simply the position adopted by one individual but the result of a detailed consideration of the particular facts of the case by no fewer than 17 people. Baroness Buscombe continued to note that Twitter, in its current iteration, is a public medium and that users must appreciate that when they “tweet” material they are making public statements. As such “it is hard to regard tweets as private”. Baroness Buscombe explained that that position may change as the technology evolves or the dissemination controls on Twitter change but it is a notable feature of Twitter today that material can be retweeted without consent and the potential audience of any one tweet is great: as she pointed out, a tweet can “be global in minutes”.
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