Hate Crime Sanctions

PUBLISHED: 6:01 PM 11 May 2018

England Pushes To Police Social Media, Award Jail Time For ‘Hate Crimes’

Punishment severity will depend on factors such as how many followers a social media user has.

England may begin pushing for online policing of hate crimes with no evidence.

While it may be irrelevant to some, political correctness occurs globally, and under such circumstances, the U.S. Constitution obviously carries no weight in ensuring liberties overseas.

This appears to be the situation in England where a council is proposing to police online activity for supposed ‘hate crimes’ and sentence such perpetrators to the same punishments which would be met in real life such as incarceration times for posts “likely to stir up hatred,” proving that the United Kingdom is an unfortunate example of a police state.

The Sentencing Council for England and Wales recently determined updated incarceration times for hate crime offenders, mandating sentences from 26 weeks to six years behind bars.

This is a direct response to the Public Order Act, a previously liberally mandated policy which bans any type of behavior which may be “intended or likely to stir up hatred,” especially considering “minority groups, including transgender people.”

In extending such government overreach, the council determined that to fully police its people’s activities, it would need to extend its power into the virtual world where a majority of communication occurs.

Under new policy guidelines, those “in a position of trust, authority, or influence” caught in such behavior will receive stricter penalties, as will those who have “a particularly large online following or if he or she is associated with any groups promoting hatred based on race or religion.”

Of course, such probable ties could be linked to nearly any citizen. However, the British government claims that such punishments will be reserved for three main type of offenders: those who “threaten or endanger life,” those whose material involve[s] widespread dissemination of material,” or, most shockingly, those who are determined to be influential to a significant audience.

In supporting liberal ‘what-if’s,’ the council even admitted that such situations are rare; however, it still wishes to retain the right to police the online world if necessary, “given the recent social climate.”

While online harassment should not be tolerated, the council determined that such offenses should be punished to the degree that “face-to-face abuse” would be.

That is a frightening thought considering that anyone could be impersonated online and content can more easily be taken out of context in such scenarios.

Instead of guaranteeing that innocent men would not be punished, the Crown Prosecution Service revealed that “a hate crime needs only to be so perceived by the victim, without the need for objective evidence.”

That guarantee alone is disturbing. Considering the multitude of accusations surfacing during #MeToo discussions, the UK is simply asking for false accusations of abuse that are sure to occur as a result of regrets, false memories, or various inconsistencies.

While free speech still exists in some form in the United States, other countries, as previously mentioned, are not necessarily guaranteed such rights.

For example, England appears to be following Germany in its recent laws. In January, the country “began enforcing a law demanding social media companies to remove hate speech and fake news from their platforms.”

Thankfully, those supporting free speech in Germany immediately began protesting the new law under the rightful claim “that press freedom was negatively impacted” upon realizing the extent that the law affected its citizens.

Initially, a comedy magazine was even censored.

While that may seem to be a drastic result, it is exactly what English culture is approaching in beginning to censor media.

In attempting to prosecute hate crime offenders, the government will surely make mistakes regarding what are actual threats, sarcastic remarks, or humor, including inappropriate jokes.

However, the council continues that this government interference is justifiable on the grounds of it maintaining ‘order’ within communities.

That is a worthwhile goal except that it groups online harassment with other more serious crimes including violence and rioting.

There is, of course, something to be said about the “the common thread that links online purveyors of hate with those who commit physical assault,” as reported by the Crown Prosecution Services director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders.

It agrees that while online threats are rarely as harmful as tangible abuse, such interactions can cause lasting trauma.

While true, enforcing such is violating free speech to debilitating degrees.

Reportedly, children acting immature online will generally be considered an exception to the rule, understandably because they may not know better.

However, that is, unfortunately, how society must address online bullying: that such criminals are socially underdeveloped and do not know better. The only realistic solution is to instead foster more inclusive and wholesome societies which discourage such behavior.

As with many things, the solution is not to jump to a reactive law or restriction, as doing so only addresses a symptom of a much more significant problem.