Apparently there is very little “freedom of speech” in the UK; a country that is definitely further along than the United States in its direction towards a more liberal society. In the wake of the killing of a British soldier in Woolwich by an Islamic Algerian immigrant, several British citizens have been calling for protests against the wave of Islamic immigration to the United Kingdom. Some people have tried to rally, while others turned their anger to the internet on social media. Now, some of these people have been arrested. Since the murder, the British Government has already arrested 12 individuals who have spoken out about the incident on social media.
The charges have mostly been:
- suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred.
- with religiously aggravated threatening behavior.
According to the Telegraph,
“Adam Rogers, 28, of Kingsman Street, Woolwich, has been charged by police after allegedly posting an offensive message on Facebook.”
“Meanwhile, a 23-year-old woman has been charged with allegedly sending a “grossly offensive” message on Facebook, Hampshire Constabulary said.”
The UK has steadily moved its government towards more progressive policies. Not too long ago, riots broke out in the streets, because the government ran out of money to fully pay for college educations, one of the social benefits paid by their taxes. The United Kingdom is also on its way to being one of the first nations to legalize the use of the word “marriage” for gay unions. And now, The UK has defined “political correctness” to mean “shut up.”
Has the British government gone too far by also asking YouTube to not post protests led by several groups? YouTube has complied with some of the requests made by the British government to censor footage, including not posting protests made by the British Constitution Group.
UK polices have taken things even further, by preemptive actions when faced with the possibilities of more anti-Muslim rallies, and one in particular initiated by the English Defence League, where three of their members were arrested before the scheduled rally, accusing them of making racist “tweets”.
A police spokesman said that UK officials will be monitoring online, including the monitoring of social media sites. The British government will seek further arrests and prosecute “anyone” inciting hatred or violence online.
According to records, the UK laws on defamation are among the strictest in the western world, imposing a high burden of proof on the defendant
United Kingdom citizens have a negative right to freedom of expression under the common law. In 1998, the United Kingdom incorporated the European Convention, and the guarantee of freedom of expression it contains in Article 10, into its domestic law under the Human Rights Act. However there is a broad sweep of exceptions including threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior intending or likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress or cause a breach of the peace (which has been used to prohibit racist speech targeted at individuals), sending another any article which is indecent or grossly offensive with an intent to cause distress or anxiety, incitement, incitement to racial hatred