Caution urged over call to ban far-right hate groups

Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, has urged caution over proposals to ban far-right hate groups before they turn to violence, warning that doing so could glamorise designated organisations.

Responding to recommendations by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, which suggested that the government should draw up new laws to punish non-violent hate groups, Hall said that the proscription model was one with many difficulties.

He said: “There are not just the immediate and intended consequences of restricting freedom of speech and assembly, but the risk of unintended consequences: for example, individuals suspected of being associated with banned groups having banking or other services withdrawn – the phenomenon of ‘de-risking’.”

Hall did, however, praise the Narratives of Hate: The Spectrum of Far-Right Worldviews in the UK report for drawing attention to the accountability gap if decisions on whether to permit or ban speech are taken by social media companies based on their terms and conditions.


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