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... to be appalled at the creeping erosion of freedom of speech rights?

(127 Posts)
Cel982 Fri 25-Mar-16 15:18:32

This knobhead was arrested yesterday for incitement to racial hatred:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-35888748

Now, to be clear, I think he's a twat. I don't agree with what he posted, and was glad to see him being roundly mocked on Twitter and elsewhere.

But the idea that the police can turn up at your door just for saying something which was not by any interpretation harassment, or threatening, or even specifically targeted at a particular individual, is terrifying to me. Their bar for what is likely to incite racial hatred seems set incredibly low. For a start, the Daily Mail publishes articles saying this kind of thing most days of the week, and I don't see any of their 'journalists' being hauled before the courts (though I think Katie Hopkins did get a visit from the police in her pre-DM days, over that really nasty piece on refugees).

This isn't the first episode of this kind, and I think in the past several of them have been thrown out of court, but they should never get there in the first place. I'm not sure whether the problem is in the legislation itself, or in the police force's interpretation of it, but something needs to change. This sort of carry on has no place in a liberal democracy.

PurpleDaisies Fri 25-Mar-16 15:23:57

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-35888748

I agree. The man's a bloody idiot but you shouldn't be arrested for that. I think it's actually pretty worrying.

VoldysGoneMouldy Fri 25-Mar-16 15:24:31

There's a fine line being "freedom of speech because of democracy" and "I can't use the R word / be racist / sexually harass people any more, so much for freedom of speech".

I don't think there's anything to be terrified of unless you're highly offensive and right wing wink

OTheHugeManatee Fri 25-Mar-16 15:25:35

YANBU.

But most people don' care about free speech, at least not enough to defend it on behalf of people who say ugly things.

PurpleDaisies Fri 25-Mar-16 15:27:56

I don't think there's anything to be terrified of unless you're highly offensive and right wing

I'm neither of those things but people should not be arrested for vies that they hold. The best thing is that they're allowed to air them and everyone else tells them they're wrong-anyone remember Nick Griffin on question time?

Laquila Fri 25-Mar-16 15:28:18

"something which was not by any interpretation harassment, or threatening, or even specifically targeted at a particular individual"

I'm not sure about the above - if I was a Muslim and someone confronted me to demand that I explain a recent terrorist attack that had rock-all to do with me, I think I'd feel a bit harassed.

PurpleDaisies Fri 25-Mar-16 15:29:26

laquila he wasn't arrested for the harassment, he was arrested for the tweet.

OneLove10 Fri 25-Mar-16 15:30:14

Yanbu

Birthgeek Fri 25-Mar-16 15:30:17

Is it not what he said in itself, but rather the behaviour? He confessed to harassing someone, basically.

OTheHugeManatee Fri 25-Mar-16 15:31:24

I think lots of lefties believe there's nothing to be afraid of unless you're right wing. So they are basically supporting the erosion of free speech because they believe it can never impact then negatively as the restrictions are all in the side of the goodies and only baddies will be restricted. This is a mistake. What happens when someone changes the rules about who the goodies are? When suddenly Maryam Namazie, Peter Tatchell and Germaine Greer are being accused of hate crimes? Suddenly people realise how precious free speech is but it's too late - freedom from speech is the new normal and anyone who objects is just accused of being one of the nasty, racist baddies.

Birdsgottafly Fri 25-Mar-16 15:31:40

""Doyle defended himself in several subsequent tweets saying he had been "angry and emotive", as well as apparently lashing out in a message saying: "Who cares if I insulted some towelhead??"
In another tweet on his account @MatthewDoyle31, he wrote: "Britain is for Britain's and those who accept our currency of decent behaviour and an intolerance of the Islamic threat to our nation." ""

He was arrested for, "suspicion of inciting racial hatred on social media", it was posibility that he did that, so it was right that, that was followed up.

We now have incitement and hate speech laws and about time to.

The last thing that anyone would want is Muslim Women being abused whilst just going about their business, surely.

Unfortunately it is happening and has happened, even to those with children.

Why aren't they confronting the groups of Muslim men?

Why isn't he confronting himself and other men after every rape, sexual assault and downloading of child porn?

This is an excuse to act on their racist beliefs.

Birthgeek Fri 25-Mar-16 15:32:25

Police haven't confirmed that PurpleDaisies. I don't think this is necessarily about free speech in and of itself.

PurpleDaisies Fri 25-Mar-16 15:32:50

Police would not confirm whether the arrest relates to the tweet which went viral or to other statements on social media posted by the same user.
This is from the bbc website. It looks unclear what the actual reason for the arrest was. I'd be interested to see what they say.

Cel982 Fri 25-Mar-16 15:33:20

(Thanks for the clicky, Purple!)

I don't think I'm highly offensive or right wing, Voldys grin. But those things are massively subjective, and who's to say what will be considered beyond the pale in ten years' time? Arresting people for what they've said is one step away from thoughtcrime, and it is genuinely frightening.

Laquila Fri 25-Mar-16 15:33:25

Ah, I see. I'm really not sure about this one. And I'm generally supportive of the principle of the right to free speech, even if I disagree with what's being said.

bearleftmonkeyright Fri 25-Mar-16 15:34:02

I am shocked he was arrested. He was roundly mocked and quite rightly but that is one of the beautiful things about social media. It took on a life of its own and became bigger than him. But to arrest him, for that confused

FadedRed Fri 25-Mar-16 15:36:32

Police would not confirm whether the arrest relates to the tweet which went viral or to other statements on social media posted by the same user.

Wouldn't this indicate that there maybe more to this arrest than is stated in the brief BBC report. So not necessarily about 'freedom of speech' IMO.

quietbatperson Fri 25-Mar-16 15:37:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Birthgeek Fri 25-Mar-16 15:38:11

He bloody well should have been arrested if he is tweeting to say he racially harassed someone! Am I in another universe?!

PurpleDaisies Fri 25-Mar-16 15:42:43

He bloody well should have been arrested if he is tweeting to say he racially harassed someone! Am I in another universe?!

No ones saying his behaviour was ok-the police statement doesn't make it sound like he was arrested for harassment of the woman (which would have been totally appropriate)-it sounds like it was because of his tweeting.

Actually, I think without seeing the whole Twitter feed its impossible to say if that arrest was justified or not. If it was because of the one tweet the bbc has posted its hard to see how that's ok.

0phelia Fri 25-Mar-16 15:45:32

This is part of the Tory "Prevent" strategy.

Any miniscule hint of stirring up extremist viewpoints lead to a police inquisition. It's a minefield of ridiculousness.

student of anti-terrorism accused of terrorism

Birthgeek Fri 25-Mar-16 15:47:53

If it was because of the one tweet the bbc has posted its hard to see how that's ok.

Well his tweet confessed the harassment, so... I think it's probably just a poorly written article based on no clear information. Maybe it should have been:

'Stupid man reveals criminal act by crowing about it on twitter'

0phelia Fri 25-Mar-16 15:49:04

It accumulates as an entire erosion of human rights.
Something quite familiar to the Tories, though.

Birdsgottafly Fri 25-Mar-16 15:53:10

""No ones saying his behaviour was ok-the police statement doesn't make it sound like he was arrested for harassment of the woman, he was arrested for his tweeting""

One to one harassment is very difficult to prove, harassment on Social Media.

There are use of Social Media laws and they are applied in lots of different cases, one recent one was to do with Hillsbourgh.

""This is part of the Tory "Prevent" strategy.""

No it isn't, this Law was introduced in 2006 along with other Hate Spech Laws, which was primarily promoted by the harassing to death of a Mother and her adult child with LDs.

BillSykesDog Fri 25-Mar-16 15:53:24

If he had been arrested for abusing the woman, if she had made a complaint, fair enough. I can imagine if the incident he described happened it would have made the woman concerned fear for her safety, so yes, arrest totally appropriate.

Arresting for the tweet though, no. Especially considering that there have been an awful lot of tweets justifying the Brussels attacks and no arrests made. Plus that Glasgow imam who was praising opponents of Pakistan's blasphemy laws being murdered. It really does seem like there are very much double standards and what you are permitted to say is very much based on what your race is.

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