by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The unwritten British constitution has no explicit protection of free speech, as Scott Greer of the Daily Caller reminds us.
The United Kingdom is responding to its severe terror threat with a proposal of lengthy jail sentences for anyone who views “terrorist content” online.
Specifically, sentences of 15 years in prison for such an offense.
But what might constitute terrorist content? According to British Home Secretary Amber Rudd, that concept includes “far-right propaganda.”
“I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law,” Rudd said in a statement Tuesday.
That statement sends a clear message the British government will use a bill supposedly designed to curtail terrorism as the pretext to shut down speech it doesn’t like. But we shouldn’t be surprised by this idea — restricting internet freedom has been the most popular proposal among British politicians in reaction to recent terror attacks.
British Prime Minister Theresa May proposed this in response to the Manchester bombings and London stabbings, making it a core pitch of hers during the parliamentary elections in June. Instead of trying to restrict immigration from areas known for Islamic extremism, British leaders would rather curb the freedom of their own citizens.