The French government is considering allowing convicted criminals to monitor social media for hate speech and cyberbullying as part of their community service.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe revealed the government’s new strategy to combat hate speech and anti-semitism online earlier this week, promising to fight hate speech and hold social media platforms accountable, French business magazine Capital reports.
While the number of “hate-incidents” declined in 2017, for the second year running, Prime Minister Philippe said the government still needed to address the growing rates of anti-semitic and anti-Muslim incidents.
Part of the government plan involves devoting more resources to the French Interior Ministry’s PHAROS programme which monitors illegal acts on the internet such as “paedophilia, incitement to racial hatred, terrorism, and scams using the internet”, according to the Interior Ministry website.
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To aid PHAROS, the government is also considering assigning convicted criminals to various associations to also monitor and report hate speech.
The programme could have unforeseen consequences, especially when it comes to anti-semitic hate crimes, as reports in the past have shown the growth of radical Islam among prison inmates and other reports that claim up to 60 per cent of inmates are Muslims. Many Jews living in France have reported a growing number of attacks from extremist Muslims, forcing some to move elsewhere.
Anti-hate laws have been the subject of controversy in the UK over the past two weeks after several prominent right-wing personalities, including activist and journalist Lauren Southern and Austrian Identitarian leader Martin Sellner, were banned from entering the UK.
Sellner, who planned to give a speech in Hyde Park’s famous speaker’s corner, was detained for three days along with his girlfriend, author and political commentator Britanny Pettibone. Despite the ban, Sellner’s speech was read out at Hyde Park a week later by former English Defence League leader turned citizen journalist Tommy Robinson to a crowd of thousands of cheering supporters.
BREAKING: YouTuber 'Count Dankula' Found Guilty in 'Sh*tposting' Case by British Court https://t.co/NSiESVDaGj
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Earlier this week, Scottish Youtuber Mark Meechan, known online as Count Dankula, was convicted of hate speech charges after he trained his girlfriend’s dog to give the Nazi salute as a joke to annoy her.