Freedom of speech is about opinion, no matter how different it may be, however Hopkins seems to have lost view of the fine line between drastic difference of opinion and dishonesty. People who lie or suggest as though they are fact untruths about a person online, should be prosecuted.
For far too long online libel (and in particular Twitter libel) has been a grey area with a huge variety of consequences for perpetrators from some getting off Scot free (This happens more in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK) to substantial punishments including bans from going online.
In the online world, todays news is not tomorrows fish and chips wrapper. Digital footprints last for decades and I regularly see clients that are trying to deal with a negative digital footprint that is over ten years old that still dogs their employability and personal lives. Often this information is untrue or at best severely skewed.
Lies destroy lives, whether they are published in the traditional media, on social media channels or told in private. I don't think that many people are aware yet of the long term damage that aggressive dishonesty does in the digital sphere.
Jack Monroe represented a balanced and fair approach. She asked for an apology and none was forthcoming. This meant to many that Katie Hopkins was prepared to stand by her lie. And people who lie to hurt other people and show no remorse, well I say throw away the key.
This particular case did touch me personally and you can read about why on my personal blog.
I hope that this case will be used as a precedent in English and Welsh courts and will influence the way forward in Scotland.
Whether its published on the front page of the guardian or on Facebook or a Twitter stream, if its untrue its likely to be libellous.
Now maybe we can sort out the problems we have with fake news reporting.
If youre dealing with a reputation problem due to negative online information click the contact link above, perhaps we can guide you in the right direction.