According to the Kent Police press release
, a man was arrested on suspicion of "malicious telecommunications" following the posting of an image of a burning poppy on a social media site.
According to the Guardian
, Padraig Reidy, of Index on Censorship, which campaigns on freedom of expression issues, expressed deep concern at the arrest. In a direct reference to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) review, which is expected to issue guidelines on the prosecution of social media offences later this month, he said:
News of this arrest is very worrying. Index hopes that when the CPS issues its guidelines on free speech later this month, due regard will be given to free speech online.
Condemnation of the arrest was even more vehement on the social media site Twitter. As Sky News
reports, David Allen Green, a journalist and lawyer for the New Statesman
, tweeting as Jack of Kent, rhetorically asked:
What was the point of winning either World War if, in 2012, someone can be casually arrested by Kent Police for burning a poppy?
Jamie's Pants, under @thisisrjg, pointedly tweeted:
We do not have a right to not be offended. We certainly don't have a right to lock up someone for offending some people.
The Australian comedian, Tim Minchin's Twitter
is dominated by a lively discussion of the issue. Mr Minchin responded to those who have tried to assert that the posting of a burning poppy, especially on Remembrance Sunday, was wrong by saying:
People tweeting me with reasons why the guy was morally wrong. IT ISN'T RELEVANT. He's allowed to be a dick. It's a f**king democracy.