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Thursday, 13 February 2020

Preventing online harms to politicians

Government proposals to prevent online harms to politicians and those in public life 

I may yesterday have given the impression that I in some way objected to our wise Leader's introduction of internet censorship for the UK. Nothing could be further from the truth. I recognise that the wise and reasonable proposals made by the fragrant Lady Morgan and the saintly Ms Patel will propel the UK into a place unknown by other democratic nations.

In particular, I applaud the wisdom of including perfectly legal and lawful content in the material to be censored. The White Paper is intended to protect vulnerable groups such as children and those active in public life, in circumstances in particular in which politicians and civil servants may be offended or disturbed by comments on their actions made by citizens. Politicians must be free to do as they wish without negative and sometimes hurtful comment from citizens. So even though such comments are quite legal, they must be banned from the internet for the public good.

Quite rightly neither the government, the courts, the regulator Ofcom or companies that provide platforms in return for advertising revenue wish to be bothered with vexatious complaints about censorship and injustice from individual citizens. The government will therefore make it practically impossible to appeal the arbitrary banning of content and voices, in the best interests of the State.

We also welcome moves to end internet anonymity in the UK. It is clearly simply wrong that so many individuals making comments on news sites, Twitter, blogs and other internet forums do so under assumed identities. During the recent General Election campaign, for instance, the government estimate that some 64% of anonymous political statements were posted by those from the civil and public services, who only form 39% of the workforce. As those employees are contractually forbidden from making public political statements, ending internet anonymity will either silence them or allow them to be easily dismissed from their posts. National productivity will also be increased as they will get on with making beds, policing bus lanes, changing colostomy bags and so on rather than fiddling with their phones.

I also applaud measures to be taken against disinformation and the saying of untrue things on the internet, and clearly the BBC must have a major role as the arbiter of what is truthful and can be stated and written by citizens in this regard. 

Personally, I think the proposed legislation doesn't go far enough. There is no mention for example of regulating or banning cartoons that portray politicians in negative and sometimes hurtful ways. These must also be included in the scope of legislation or Twitter will become a mass of poorly-drawn caricatures posted by named persons in such a way that will evade censorship.

I confirm I am willing of my own free will to submit this posting to the Google Blogger UK content checking authority, appointed by Ofcom in accordance with the Online Harms Act 2020, for verification and permission to publish

20 comments:

terence patrick hewett said...

Posted by terence patrick hewett.

r_writes esq. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
r_writes esq. said...

Remind me Raedwald....

Did you support this bunch of shysters or not?

mikebravp said...

The useless tories have fooled their voters again.
It turns out that they have morphed into Stalinists.
I"m sure it was all in print in their manifesto but nobody read it coz Boris, ooh Boris, Boris will save us.

jim said...

Raedwald is right, HMG will use 'protecting xyz group' as a cover for further emasculating the blogosphere.

If we look back a decade there were really quite hard-hitting blogs from police-persons, ambulance-persons, doctors, magistrates and civil servants. These gave us the inside story, a story government would rather we didn't hear. Gradually these blogs were closed down or told to wind their necks in. Pressure was applied, anonymity uncovered, jobs threatened in a veiled sort of way.

Now the blogosphere and the internet is a 'safer' but blander place and it is increasingly hard to find out what is really going on. Add in a decline in the MSM and we are disappearing into a fog of disinformation and stone cold silence.

DiscoveredJoys said...

I, for one, will welcome the opportunity to relentlessly report political social media for potential on line harm. So comments on Skwarkbox, the Guardian, various Remainer sites, various Momentum social media sites, Labour and Lib Dem candidate sites will all have to adhere to 'a kinder politics'.

While I don't expect to achieve instant peace of mind I do expect if enough people complain either OFCOM will have to publish strict guidelines or the law will be dropped to enable political parties to campaign.

I'm a great believer in sharing the pain.

/Not Quite Whimsy either.

DeeDee99 said...

S'funny; during the General Election campaign, Boris must have forgotten to mention that he was Big Brother.

Just like he forgot to mention that he was all in favour of appointing failed, rejected and, in the case of Nicky Morgan, cowardly anti-democrats, to the House of Frauds.

John in Cheshire said...

A lot of damage can be done over the next 5 years. Will this bunch of rats succeed? Will a new Party emerge in this time to overthrow the status quo?
Or will Entropy be the winner?

Andrew Douglas said...

Time to crank 'Won’t get fooled again' up to the max, and drown one's sorrows with a glass of malt?

JPM said...

DJ, give us an example of the kind of comment made by a pro-European Union commenter, that you think would constitute an offence under these proposed guidelines, and why?

Can you do the same for one from the other side too? I don't mean by extrapolating the proposals to include silliness either. Just deal with the facts, even if it doesn't support a fix for that Victimhood Addiction.

Thanks.

I haven't read them, incidentally.

DiscoveredJoys said...

@JPM

I don't do social media and don't collect 'evidence' - although I do read a collection of varied 'political' blogs where particular examples (left and right) receive wider attention (and are often retrospectively removed).

Clearly racist speech is a likely target for censorship, but then calling people 'racist' to close down debate is bullying too.

Raedwald said...

DJ - It's more insideous than that. You won't be able to complain to Ofcom - they'll just refer you to the platform owner. And you can't comlain to the platform owner - there will be no requirement for them to be reactive. Instead, they will be expected to close down opportunities for potential infringements before they happen. This is not like setting up a press complaints commission for the internet - it is like newspapers not being allowed to publish unless they are trusted to obey the civil servants' rules.

Anonymous said...

You and many of your followers were foaming at the mouth over Selmayr's influence in the EU.

No complaints about Dom and his instructions about the new Cabinet!

JPM said...

And just remember, Raed, that if Cummings' puppetry manage to emasculate the judiciary - as you fervently encouraged them to do - then there will be no Judicial Review as to the lawfulness of any of this.

You get for what you vote.

Enjoy.

Mark said...

Trollimodo...."rejoin! rejoin!"

Biff Wilson said...

Only 15 comments so far, have the rest been censored?

Span Ows said...

Trollimodo LOL...

BoJo is getting silly. Too much too soon.

Span Ows said...

...just lloking at the new cabinet, not too bad, definitely Brexit heavy. Just wish BoJO would stop the climate madness (and HS2, and lefty taxes, and snoop charter boost)

JPM said...

On a closely related matter, as I said, it's not the law which is at fault, nor the politicians who passed that law. It is the conduct of the police, IMO to mislead the public as to those facts.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/14/transgender-tweet-police-acted-unlawfully

Span Ows said...

JPM, in that case yes. In fact I agree with you but the Law WILL be used against us. As per anti-terrorism measures etc.