On 15th March 2018 the Bishop of Gloucester asked a question she had tabled to Government on online hate speech. The exchanges are below, including the follow-up questions asked by other Members.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to combat hate speech online.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con): My Lords, this Government abhor all forms of hate speech. It is clear that what is illegal offline is also illegal online. That is why we are taking a cross-government approach through the hate crime action plan, which will be refreshed this year. We are funding an online hate crime hub, building digital resilience and have successfully worked with industry and partners internationally to agree the removal of illegal content within 24 hours.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, we know that websites and apps have brought many benefits, but at a cost. From my own visits to schools, I am particularly concerned about the hate speech that young people are exposed to online, including through anonymous apps like Sarahah. What are the Government doing to ensure that the age verification checks on apps are effective? How are the Government working with smaller developers to ensure that their platforms are not used to propagate threats and hate speech? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what they are doing to combat hate speech online”
On 13th March 2018, Lord Young of Cookham repeated an answer given to an urgent question about inflammatory letters inciting a ‘Punish a Muslim’ day. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, denounced these letters, expressed her solidarity with the Muslim community, and asked the Government what action it is taking to support grass-roots relationships.
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, on behalf of these Benches and, I am sure, on behalf of the Church, I want to say that any attack on a person or community on the basis of their faith or their race is abhorrent and has no place in a decent, civilised society.
As a Christian leader I stand in solidarity with my Muslim friends and with all those in and outside this building who have been directly affected or are fearful and anxious.
On 29th June 2016 Lord Ahmed repeated to the House of Lords a Government statement made in the House of Commons about hate crime. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a follow up question about religious literacy and education.
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, perhaps I may ask the Minister two specific questions about religious literacy and religious education. First, I welcome the Statement and the responses from the other Front Benches, and of course to express my own great dismay at the incidents that we have experienced in recent days. As I said in the House on Monday, the diocese where I serve includes some of the most multicultural parts of this country. I have heard many disturbing stories, and even more of them here today.
My first question relates to religious education. We have discovered in recent days something that is already there within us and that has been stirred up and legitimised by some of the debate, yet religious education has less of a place in the national curriculum than it used to. I wonder whether this is another opportunity for the Government to look again at the place of religious education in schools.
My second question is about religious literacy. I serve on this House’s Select Committee on Communications. We have recently completed a report on the renewal of the BBC charter. Religious broadcasting has almost disappeared from public service broadcasting, and the BBC no longer has a commissioning editor for religious broadcasting. Surely this is a time when we need to do more about this. It is a very practical matter that the Government could address. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford condemns hate crime, calls for better religious literacy”