UK Regulator Adds ‘Political Opinion’ to Hate Speech Rules

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UK Regulator Adds ‘Political Opinion’ to Hate Speech Rules

There are increasing fears that freedom of speech is in jeopardy in the UK as the regulatory body for media broadcasts in Britain, Ofcom, has broadened its code for hate speech to include ‘political or any other opinion’.

Previously, Ofcom required that broadcasts refrained from airing ‘incitement to hatred’ based on sex, race, religion, or nationality.

The regulator’s new code — which came into place at 11 pm on New Years’ Eve — now bars programmes from “all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred based on intolerance on the grounds of disability, ethnicity, social origin, gender, sex, gender reassignment, nationality, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, colour, genetic features, language, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth or age.”

Ofcom denied that the updated regulations would stifle freedom of speech, claiming that the new speech codes would not prevent anyone from appearing on television or radio “because their views or actions have the potential to cause offence”.

The broadcast regulator said that it would be the responsibility of broadcasters to challenge the so-called hateful opinions of their guests.

The UK has also seen police embark on a campaign of logging thousands of so-called ‘non-crime hate incidents’ in criminal databases.

The hate “offences” will present on criminal background checks, despite the person not having committed a real crime.

 

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