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By Marta Cooper / 8 October 2012
A man who admitted to posting “despicable” comments about missing five-year-old April Jones on his Facebook page has been jailed for 12 weeks. Matthew Woods appeared at Chorley Magistrates’ Court today, where he pleaded guilty to “sending by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive” (section 127 (1) a of the Communications Act 2003). Woods’ comments, which included some of a sexually explicit nature about the youngster who went missing last week, were deemed so “abhorrent” that they deserved the longest sentence that could be passed, less a third to account for Woods’ early guilty plea.April Jones | Communications Act | Facebook | Matthew Woods | Offensive comments | social media | United Kingdom
Index on Censorship has dedicated its milestone 250th issue to exploring the increasing threats to reporters worldwide. Its special report, Truth in Danger, Danger in Truth: Journalists Under Fire and Under Pressure, is out soon. Highlights include Lindsey Hilsum, writing about her friend and colleague, the murdered war reporter Marie Colvin, and asking whether journalists should still be covering war zones. Stephen Grey looks at the difficulties of protecting sources in an era of mass surveillance.