THE UK'S CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE has announced a hardcore crackdown on the kind of hate speech that people don't like and plans to treat it like real-world bad stuff.
The CPS has obviously been reading. It knows that there is a lot of trash and trashy talk on the internet and it wants to try and shove it back in the bag.
"In recognition of the growth of hate crime perpetrated using social media, a commitment to treat online crime as seriously as offline offences, while taking into account the potential impact on the wider community as well as the victim," it said.
"For the first time, CPS policy will acknowledge that victims of biphobic hate crime have different experiences and needs to victims of homophobic and transphobic offences. The CPS recognises it has a responsibility to actively remove barriers to justice for disabled victims and witnesses, ensuring they get the right support to enable them to give their best evidence."
Hate crimes are defined as those crimes where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or shows hostility towards the victim's disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity, according to the CPS which hates hate crimes.
"Hate crime has a corrosive effect on our society and that is why it is a priority area for the CPS. It can affect entire communities, forcing people to change their way of life and live in fear. These documents take account of the current breadth and context of offending to provide prosecutors with the best possible chance of achieving justice for victims. They also let victims and witnesses know what they should expect from us," said Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions at CPS.
"I hope that, along with this week's campaign, they will give people the confidence to come forward and report hate crime, in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously and given the support they need."
The campaign Saunders mentioned, #hatecrimematters, is a mix of education, information, support and perhaps we hope a lovely hug at the end. The Open Rights Group (ORG) has not exactly welcomed the effort but warned that it might not solve anything because of other governmental efforts elsewhere.
The Open Rights Group (ORG) has not exactly welcomed the effort but warned that it might not solve anything because of other governmental efforts.
"It is quite right that people who hide behind social media to commit hate crime should be held accountable for their actions by the criminal justice system and clearly, internet companies should not be left to ‘police' online speech," said ORG legal director Myles Jackman.
"However, some offences employ highly subjective terms like 'grossly offensive' and 'obscene' which could have a severe chilling effect on the more unpalatable but legitimate areas of free speech, if interpreted strictly."
Finally, Saunders' avowed intent to crackdown on hate crime on social media may be significantly hampered by Kier Starmer's High Evidential Threshold Test, which was specifically designed to reduce the number of cases that actually reached Court" µ
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