Staffordshire University is offering short courses on Twitter to help social media users to avoid legal pitfalls.
Its Stay Safe on Twitter course will enable people from celebrities to bloggers and business people who use social media to follow guidance set out by the Attorney General, who has taken to Twitter to try and prevent social media users from committing contempt of court when commenting on legal cases.
The one-day course will run throughout the year and provide and will provide people with the basics of media law.
The courses are delivered by trained journalists who are experts in media law and can be delivered in the newsroom at the university, in the workplace or on-line.
People who attend will gain knowledge of crucial aspects of contempt of court, juveniles in the news, sexual offences, libel and copyright.
Peaches Geldof recently apologised for tweeting the names of two women who were part of a court case about a rape and last year several people were fined for naming a woman raped by the footballer Ched Evans.
Sarah Chapman, senior lecturer in Journalism at Staffordshire University said: ”Many people treat social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as a place for free speech, they are subject to the same laws as the mainstream media.
”People using social media need to realise that commenting on a trial could prejudice a case, celebrities especially need to more knowledge especially because they have so many followers, one tweet could go viral.”
”People need to realise that ignorance is not a defence, those 140 characters could get someone in some serious legal trouble and I am confident that the Stay Safe on Twitter course will give them invaluable knowledge.”