UK debates over blocking extremist content
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
LONDON - The UK government is planning to block online extremist content that could radicalize impressionable young men.
The BBC has reported that the Home Office is currently in talks with internet companies "to refuse access to violent films that are hosted abroad".
Former Security Minister, James Brokenshire, who is now Immigration Minister, has drawn up plans to implement the proposed blocks. Ministers say that in particular the government is ready to tackle threats from jihadist groups in Syria.
Talking to the BBC, one minister said that approximately 2,000 Europeans are believed to be fighting in Syria, including at least 200 known to the British security services.
The blocks come as UK authorities’ fear that fighters returning to the UK will seek to radicalize young men, in particular, to launch terrorist attacks both at home and abroad.
British civil liberties and privacy pressure group, Big Brother Watch said in a statement that freedom of speech, and of the press "are essential parts of a free and democratic society".
"It should not be in the gift of politicians to decide what we read or who can write it and absolutely not on the basis of what some may consider undesirable. If content is to be blocked, it should be a decision taken by a court of law and only when a clear criminal test has been met establishing the content is illegal."
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