UK Government Watch


 Update: So what are the chances that this will have any measurable effect on terrorism?...

May calls on website services to remove terrorist content within 2 hours

Link Here 21st September 2017  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim

2 hour timerTheresa May is to urge internet companies to take down extremist content being shared by terrorist groups within two hours, during a summit with the French president and the Italian prime minister.

Home Office analysis shows that Isis shared 27,000 links to extremist content in the first five months of the 2017 and, once shared, the material remained available online for an average of 36 hours. The government would like that reduced to two hours, and ultimately they are urging companies to develop technology to spot material early and prevent it being shared in the first place.

The issue is of particular concern after last week's attack on a London Underground train at Parsons Green, and follows a British thinktank report, which found that online jihadist propaganda attracts more clicks in Britain than anywhere else in Europe.

Extremist material is shared very rapidly when it is first published in what experts call a starburst effect: more than two-thirds of shares take place within the first two hours, so reducing the amount of time the material is visible can drastically squeeze the number of users who see it.

A government source noted that once an internet user has shown interest in extremist content, the web giants' algorithms keep pushing similar material towards them online. We want them to break the echo chambers, he said.


  Gagged by anti-lobbying rules...

Letter signed by 122 organisations including Save the Children and Greenpeace warns their voices are being silenced due to draconian legislation

Link Here 30th August 2017
greenpeace logoAn open letter signed by 122 organisations including Save the Children, Greenpeace and Christian Aid says campaigning is being lost from public debate due to the draconian requirements of the Lobbying Act.  The letter reases

To Ms Tracey Crouch MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society, Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Dear Minister,

Enhancing civil society participation in the democratic process

Congratulations upon your appointment as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society. We are writing to you, as organisations for whom campaigning is fundamental to achieving our mission, to express our concerns regarding the Transparency of Lobbying, Non - Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014, also known as the Lobbying Act, and its impact on the ability of civil society to participate in the democratic process.

Civil society is a vital part of a healthy democracy. It has a long and proud tradition of campaigning in the UK, and has been the driving force behind many of our great social reforms, from the abolition of slavery to the extension of the franchise to women. In more recent times, charities and non - partisan campaign groups have worked with parliamentarians from across the political spectrum to achieve equal marriage and tackle modern slavery.

While we recognise that regulation is necessary to ensure that no one individual or organisation c an exert undue influence at an election, the Lobbying Act has had a disproportionate impact on civil society campaigning. We are concerned that it caused many organisations not to engage in the run up to the recent general election, and resulted in some important voices being lost from public debate.

Charities and non - partisan campaign groups have spent significant time attempting to understand the legislation and how to comply. However, many of the rules are vague and confusing, especially for smaller organisations. While some organisations have sought legal advice to help them interpret the legislation, this can be expensive and is simply not an option for many. The rules on joint campaigning are also a concern for smaller charities, and have made organisations more hesitant to collaborate.

A Government-commissioned review of the Part II of the Lobbying Act, conducted by the Conservative peer, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, found that it fails to get the balance right and proposed several changes to the legislation. The House of Lords Select Committee on Charities described his recommendations as “eminently sensible” and called on the Government to implement them “in full”.

We are writing to you as the Minister responsible for civil society, to ask you to work with your colleagues in the Cabinet Office to ensure sufficient parliamentary time is devoted to allow revisions to be made, which would protect and enhance the ability of civil society to engage in the democratic process.

The Lobbying Act is a confusing and burdensome piece of legislation that weakens our democracy, rather than strengthens it. We look forward to working with you in your new role to ensure that much-needed changes are made to this law.


  Fox News censored in the UK...

Presumably a victim of News International having to kowtow to the authorities to get a merger approval

Link Here 30th August 2017
fox news logoRupert Murdoch has taken the rightwing US channel Fox News off the air in the UK after 15 years.

The decision came as Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, is set to return her verdict on whether to ask the competition regulator to launch an investigation into the Murdochs' adherence to broadcasting standards in the UK as part of an inquiry into Fox's £11.7bn takeover bid for Sky.

[Fox] has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK, a spokeswoman for the company said. Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK. We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK.

The spokesperson said that Fox News only reached about 2,000 average daily viewers in the UK, however figures from the Broadcaster's Audience Research Board (Barb) suggest that the number was closer to 60,000.

Fox News has become increasingly troublesome for the Murdochs as they attempt to buy Sky. The channel is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal that led to a string of high-profile figures leaving, including the chairman Roger Ailes , who has since died, and leading presenter Bill O'Reilly .