Hash tag goes viral in child porn case

Published On November 14, 2014 | By HN Staff | News

By Aabida Dhanji

Protesters outside courthouse Image via Twitter from vice.com

Protesters outside courthouse. Image via Twitter from vice.com

After the decision to give a conditional discharge to the accused in a child porn case in Halifax this week, the hashtag #youknowhername went viral on Twitter.

A Halifax girl committed suicide in 2013 after a well publicized case of being cyber bullied following posting by the accused of a picture of the victim being gang raped.

The victim’s identity can not be released because of a mandatory publication ban.

Constable Pierre Bourdages, public information officer for Halifax Regional Police said, “there is no ban on the name of the victim itself, there is a ban only relating the name of the victim and the case of which that person was a victim.”

Earlier this morning Halifax Regional police said they investigated seven media outlets who breached the ban.

Bourdages said these media outlets will not be charged for breaching the publication ban, after Halifax Regional Police consulted the crown to discuss each individual case.

He said, “these investigations do not absolve anyone from breaching the ban itself. If we do receive more complaints of breach of the ban, they will have to be investigated separately again.  Charges could result depending on the circumstances.”

Lawyer and media law professor at Humber College, Alan Shanoff said he thinks it is right that the outlets were not charged for breaching the publication ban.

“The judge understood that the ban was not a ban that made a lot of sense but he had no power to deal with that,” said Shanoff.

Many people have been tweeting their reactions on the verdict of the case using #youknowhername.

Shanoff said he likes what is happening on social media.

“If enough people deal with this on social media, perhaps it will get to the attention to the law makers and perhaps there will be some movement to change the law and move this ban from a mandatory to a discretionary ban,” said Shanoff.

Bhupesh Shah is the program co-ordinator of the social media graduate certificate program at Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology. He said people come to social media to raise awareness. It’s a matter of people voicing their opinion through social media. Before social media people would have done this just in different ways, said Shah.

Shah said these kinds of campaigns are effective because they’re easy to remember. “When it comes to categorization and search there’s so many things happening on the internet, it’s hard to find information sometimes,” said Shah.

“So when you use the hash tag it kind of organizes comments around that particular theme or topic.” Shah said “People adopting #youknowhername is their way of saying, hey look this is important to us and we’re not going to let it go away.”

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