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Updated October 21st, 2021 at 16:03 IST

UK Opposition leader demands Boris govt to sanction Telegram for 'harbouring extremists'

United Kingdom's Labour Party lawmaker Keir Starmer slammed messaging app Telegram for "harbouring extremists" and urged PM Johnson to take to tough measures

Anurag Roushan
UK
Image: AP/Pixabay | Image:self
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United Kingdom's Labour Party lawmaker Keir Starmer slammed messaging app Telegram for "harbouring extremists" and urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take tough measures against the online platform. Starmer suggested that online platforms be sanctioned for distributing content that promotes extremism, violence, and racial hatred, reported news agency Sputnik. The Opposition leader also chastised the ruling government for not penalizing platforms that "fail to crack down on extremism." Telegram has facilitated and promoted a terrorist-supporting subculture so a tough sanction against the platform is the need of the hour, stated Starmer. 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that the government intended to bring the law before Christmas and would consider stiffer consequences for anyone who breaks it. He also added that those guilty of permitting extremist information online would face tough sentences, reported the news agency. Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Starmer stated that the government had promised a crackdown on online extremism and hate speech three years ago, but the plans are yet to begin their passage into legislation. He also claimed that the harm caused by toxic content online is worse than ever. Furthermore, he slammed Facebook's and Instagram's "destructive algorithms," and claimed to have seen cases of "violent Islamism and far-right propaganda" on TikTok, a popular teen social media platform, reported BBC News. 

'UK government looking to revamp its approach for counter-terrorism programme'

Following the assassination of Conservative lawmaker Sir David Amess, the UK government is looking to revamp its approach for the government's counter-terrorism programme, "Prevent." According to the government officials, MI5, Britain's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, might be given more control over the country's anti-terror programme. Meanwhile, another British MP, Mark Francois has proposed changing the current Online Harms Bill to 'David's Law,' in memory of the slain politician.

On Monday, politicians from all parties assembled at the House of Commons for a minute of silence in honour of Amess. Francois paid tribute to Sir David, calling the 69-year-old one of his closest friends and political mentors, and vowed to use his time in parliament to overhaul the social media regulations. While authorities are looking into whether there are any links to Islamist extremism and have not linked the assassination to MPs being targeted online, Amess' allies sought a crackdown claiming the slain leader had expressed increased concern about threats and toxicity in public discourse, reported The Guardian. 

Image: AP/Pixabay

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Published October 21st, 2021 at 16:03 IST

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