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Attorney-General Robert Clark to head social media working group

Posted by: Ellen Feely | 8 October, 2012 - 10:46 AM
Robert Clark

Attorneys-General across the country have set up a working group to create national social media guidelines in response to material prejudicial to the trial of Jill Meagher’s alleged killer was posted on Facebook and Twitter.

After Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay revealed Facebook were uncooperative to remove pages inciting violence against the man charged with Jill Meagher’s rape and murder, Neil Mitchell said the world’s most popular social networking site was devoid of social responsibility.

”It’s beyond my comprehension, they have no social responsibility as far as I can see, Facebook. And nor will they attempt to answer to the criticisms,” he said.

Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark told Neil Mitchell government needed to strike a ‘fair and workable balance’ between freedom of speech and avoiding prejudicing fair trials.

”What we've got to do is get procedures that can make sure that material that runs the risk of prejudicing a fair trial can be taken down, that users know what their responsibilities are and…that jurors are properly warned about ignoring prejudicial material that might come to their attention,” he said.

”They certainly say that they want appropriate user policies and to comply with the law. We want to open up that discussion with them.”

Mr Clark said clear protocols needed to be established across the courts and law enforcement agencies in order for offending sites to be identified, leading to Facebook urgently removing them.

"We want to take Facebook and others at face value and try to get some clear guidelines that are workable for them and which protect the community and don't prejudice fair trials,” he said.

Mr Clark said social networking sites were the modern day form of gossip, and the organisations needed to help educate their users about the potential legal risks their posts may contain.

"I'm sure a number of people who put things up on social media wouldn't realise the potential legal consequences,” he said.

LISTEN: Attorney-General Robert Clark speaks with Neil Mitchell:

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Blog comments Your Say

  • It's sad that we have so many insecure people who feel they need facebook. Those with 700 friends etc. Get a life guys. Also it should be banned until you're 18 years of age. The damage it is doing to our youth is enormous.

    Graeme Wednesday 10 October, 2012 - 8:35 AM

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