First Minister Alex Salmond today confirmed the SNP Government will bring forward legislation to clamp down on online bigotry as well as threatening and abusive behaviour inside football grounds.
In an article in the Scottish Sunday Express Mr Salmond said: “I am also determined that the authorities have the powers they need to clamp down effectively on bigotry peddled online. The Internet is a force for good in so many ways – but it can also be abused by those who seek to spread hatred.
“That’s why the Scottish Government will bring forward legislation as soon as we can to make such online behaviour, including posts on sites like Facebook and Twitter, an indictable offence with a maximum punishment of five years in jail.
“In addition, threatening and abusive behaviour inside a football ground would similarly become an indictable offence, again with prison sentences of up to five years available to the courts for anyone found guilty.
“I have had talks about the need for these tough new laws with legal chiefs, including the Solicitor General Frank Mullholland, who has been at the forefront of our successful crime-fighting efforts in recent years, which has seen crime in Scotland fall to a 32-year low.
“And I hope that as many MSPs as possible, from across the political spectrum, will agree to pass these new laws when the legislation comes before Holyrood, so that we send as strong a signal as possible that our national Parliament is determined to stamp out this sort of behavior once and for all.”