PRCA responds to Director of Public Prosecutions' social media guidelines

Following the publication of interim guidelines on prosecutions involving social media by the DPP, Francis Ingham, PRCA Director General, said: “We welcome the Director of Public Prosecutions’ guidelines for the prosecution of people who misuse social media.

“Social media is a minefield and governance desperately needs to catch up - these guidelines are a much needed starting point. The correct use of social media is an important element of good communication for all.

“However, we are concerned that Keir Starmer’s guidelines may be open to misuse, as he states that a prosecution is unlikely to be both necessary and proportionate where an offensive message is “taken down very swiftly and there is remorse”.

“This may need to be toughened up, as in its current state it could still allow for further unforgivable reputation-harming incidents akin to the accusations made against Lord McAlpine over Twitter. 

“We voiced similar concerns over a Defamation Bill that is currently with the House of Lords requiring would-be claimants to show they have suffered “serious harm” to their reputation before they can take a defamation case forward, which could be at the expense of those seeking to protect their reputation.”

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Notes to editors

For more information please contact Matt Cartmell at matt.cartmell@prca.org.uk.

 
About the PRCA
 
Who we are: Founded in 1969, the PRCA is the professional body that represents UK PR consultancies, in-house communications teams, PR freelancers and individuals. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and internal communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.
 
What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.
 
How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry's behalf e.g. fighting the NLA's digital licence.
 
Who we represent: The PRCA represents many of the major consultancies in the UK, and currently has more than 300 agency members from around the world, including the majority of the top 100 UK consultancies. We also represent over 100 in-house communications teams from multinationals, UK charities and leading UK public sector organisations.
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