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Freedom of Speech in UK

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Every day 9 people are arrested for posting offensive online comments. That’s an 800% increase in the last few years based on Midlothian police statistics. Not only this, but the UK government agreed to squander 1 million pounds creating a new police force, which will arrest people for mean online comments while at the same time they have decreased the police founding. Every year the UK government more and more money into ‘guarding’ the Internet from trolls rather than guarding the streets where gang and knives violence has gone through the roof.

There are many cases of the government arresting or even banning people from the UK for publicly voicing their dissent against them. The most striking case being that of Lauren Southern a Canadian Right-Wing journalist, who was banned from entering the UK under section 7 (anti-terrorist law). She arrested after distributing flyers in Louton saying “Allah is Lesbian, Allah is gay, Allah is queer, Allah is bisexual, Allah is transsexual, Allah is all of us” after a VICE article was released with the title ‘Jesus is gay’. The whole idea behind Lauren’s distribution of flyers was to see the reaction of people when Jesus was substituted with Allah, since the article by VICE wasn’t criticized by anyone. Also, the timing outraged many people since at the same time 400 ISIS members returned to UK.

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Another case which angered many people was that of Mark Meechan also known as Count Dankula. Meechan was arrest by the Scottish police arrested him after a video of him was uploaded teaching his girlfriend’s pug to do the Nazi salute while being told “Sig heil”. He did that because his girlfriend found her dog very cute and as he himself said on the video he thought that was the worst thing he could do. When asked in court why he did that he said: “As was already said in the video I don’t have any problems with Jews and I only did that to annoy my girlfriend since a Nazi was the worst thing I could think of”. At the end of the court which took 2 years to complete, Meechan was found guilty of ‘grossly offending’ comment was fined £800.

UK is no stranger to violations on Human rights since two years ago the DRIPA law (Data Retention an Investigatory Powers Act) was ruled unlawful, since it allowed security services to have access to phone and Internet record of individuals even if they weren’t a threat. During the court ruling it was found that DRIPA was used for other purposes that to fight serious crime, it was mostly used by city councils to crack down on issues such as dog fouling and littering, since it was allowed for public bodies to grant themselves access to information without proper independent oversight. Even after that the government spent £2million into a new unit the ‘thought police’. Reminiscing the thought police from George’s Orwell book 1984. The competence of the new unit is going to be investigating offensive comments from the Internet, the unit is going to be supported by an ‘army’ of volunteers reporting whatever they deem inappropriate. After the announcement of the new unit on twitter civil liberties campaigners raised fears that the new unit would stop people from expressing their opinion in fears of arrest and the risk of people that get offended by the least thing will now be able to report that to the police. The most notorious case of over-reaction was when MP Thangam Debbonaire reported Verity Phillips a 20-years old student for telling her “should not get in the sea”, with the reply of the politician being “This person told me to drown – I believe that is a threat to kill”.

UK is already the most surveilled country in the world, there is 1 camera for 11 people but not only that UK is slowly turning to a dystopian totalitarian state. The government is trying to pass bills without anyone knowing, the censorship bill is trying to regulate adult content on the Internet, essentially when you visit adult sites you will be required to verify your age with third-party organization such as mobile phone network or national health service. That’s not all though, this bill is going to be a requirement in all websites even those who are not dedicated to adult content but have some like Reddit. If those websites don’t agree they will be blocked. This means it’s quite likely for plenty of websites with mostly non-graphic content will be blocked thanks to a small amount of that material in their servers. Given that most of those websites are likely to be forums and message boards has serious implications on free speech.

Sources

  1. https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=mark+meechan&oq=mark+mee&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0j69i59j0.2476j0j4&client=ms-android-xiaomi&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8
  2. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.rt.com/uk/422336-southern-racist-banned-gay/amp/
  3. https://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/content/dripa-surveillance-ruled-unlawful
  4. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3739348/amp/Scotland-Yard-ploughs-2million-new-thought-police-unit-snoop-web-users-hunt-trolls.html

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Freedom of Speech in UK. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/freedom-of-speech-in-uk/
“Freedom of Speech in UK.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/freedom-of-speech-in-uk/
Freedom of Speech in UK. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/freedom-of-speech-in-uk/> [Accessed 3 Feb. 2023].
Freedom of Speech in UK [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/freedom-of-speech-in-uk/
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