Judge: Tweeting Joke About Blowing Up Airport Not OK
Paul Chambers' joke was 'definitely menacing'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2010 10:21 AM CST
Chambers was arrested after an airport worker reported the tweet.   (Wikipedia/Dbertman)

(Newser) – A British man who joked on Twitter about blowing up an airport after his flight was canceled has lost his appeal challenging his conviction in the case. Paul Chambers—who lost his job after being arrested earlier this year—will now have to pay a $1,600 fine and double that in court costs, the Guardian reports. The judge said the tweet, which was reported to police by an airport worker, was "menacing in its content and obviously so."

Civil liberties groups said the case raised serious concerns, especially since Chambers was prosecuted under a 1930s law originally intended to prevent telephone operators from harassment. Actor—and controversial tweeter—Stephen Fry has offered to pay the fine. Similar trials in future could possibly be prevented if Twitter added a "sarcasm marker" so people can indicate when they're joking, the Washington Post suggests.