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British Media Minister Shows Double Standards on Free Speech in China and UK

Samizdat – 29.11.2022

The British government’s draft Online Safety Bill has previously come under fire from free speech campaigners and MPs — including current culture and media minister Michelle Donelan — for demanding social media sites censor posts which do not break any law.

The UK’s media minister has demanded Beijing grant British journalists freedom of speech — while suppressing it at home.

But her department is also spearheading new legislation to censor social media posts even if they do not break any laws against threats or incitement.

Speaking on a radio programme on Tuesday morning, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Michelle Donelan said it was “absolutely shocking” that a reporter for British state media was arrested while covering protests against COVID-related restrictions in Shanghai.

“We believe in press freedom and the media to be able to report all over the globe,” Donelan said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused the British media of “playing the victim” after it claimed cameraman Edward Lawrence was “beaten and kicked” by police.

Zhao urged foreign journalists not to engage in activities “unrelated to their role” — implying they were taking part in the protests rather than reporting them impartially.

The new draft of the Online Safety Bill, which Donelan’s department is pushing through Parliament, would force social media moderators to delete users’ posts if they have “reasonable grounds to infer” their content could cause “serious distress” to some individuals.

The previous version drafted under Donelan’s predecessor Nadine Dorries was criticised by MPs and free speech advocates for attempting to ban comments it dubbed “legal but harmful”.

Donelan herself said at the time that wording would create “a quasi-legal category between illegal and legal.”

A government factsheet published in May said the bill would only mandate censoring social media posts if some harm was “intended”, without a reasonable excuse or the defence of public interest — theoretically protecting satirical cartoons and statements of political opinion.

Ironically, Dorries was herself reportedly banned from a private WhatsApp group for Conservative Party MPs in December 2021 for defending then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson from her colleagues’ criticism.

November 29, 2022 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. “Speaking on a radio programme on Tuesday morning, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Michelle Donelan said it was “absolutely shocking” that a reporter for British state media was arrested while covering protests against COVID-related restrictions in Shanghai”.

    Is this “British Media Minister” completely unaware that the only Journalist on Earth with a perfect record of telling the TRUTH, is currently under arrest in a British Gulag, awaiting Transfer to Guantanamo Bay Gulag under American control (but, outside of the American Legal System, where he will most likely be tortured to death?

    The hypocrisy at the Top, in Britain and the USA, is astonishing. “Freedom and Democracy” is a screen, behind which, freedom and democracy is being TRASHED.

    Like

    Comment by brianharryaustralia | November 29, 2022 | Reply


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