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Leicester councillors given Twitter libel guidance

Leicester councillors given Twitter libel guidance

City councillors in Leicester are set to be given guidance in how to avoid libel and defamation, after a complaint was received from a member of the public.

While officials at the authority cleared the unnamed official of any wrongdoing for the undisclosed incident, they want to ensure that lawmakers are given the information they need to not end up in court for saying something illegal.

A local barrister, Kamal Adatia, said the guidelines are not trying to stop freedom of speech, but will help members of the public know when a councillor is tweeting in a professional capacity and when it is unofficial, reports the Leicester Mercury.

"We do want to encourage councillors to use social media but councillors may want to tweet wearing a number of different hats and they tend to have one social media account," Mr Adatia added.

Similar steps have been taken in a number of local authorities and last year the Stoke Sentinel covered controversy over similar efforts to implement a social media policy in the West Midland city's chambers.

By Francesca Witney