Keir Starmer highlighted communal concerns about extremist content online, as he called for the government to crack down on the directors of firms that allow it.
During Prime Ministers Question Time in the House of Commons, the Labour leader referred to the Board of Deputies and anti-racism group Hope Not Hate’s worries about the Telegram platform, which he said had come to be known as “the app of choice for terrorists.”
They “have said that Telegram has, in their words, facilitated and nurtured a sub-culture that cheers leads terrorists.
“Tough sanctions are clearly needed, yet under the government’s current proposals directors of platforms failing to crack down on extremism would still not face criminal sanctions. Why is that?”
Responding Boris Johnson said: “It is this government that brought forward the Online Harms Bill.”
The PM also pledged that pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill would be completed before the end of the year – meaning the second reading of the proposals could then go ahead.
Responding to Starmer’s call for criminal sanctions of social media firms who fail to stop extremist content the PM said:”We will have criminal sanctions with tough sentences.”
He added:”What we’re doing is ensuring we crackdown on companies that promote illegal and dangerous content and we’ll be toughening up those provisions.”
The exchange, during Wednesday’s PMQs, came after last week’s tragic death of the MP Sir David Amess, and claims the attacker had allegedly been radicalised by online content.
Starmer appeared to rule out calls to close down anonymous online accounts.
“Closing down anonymous accounts would not have prevented the murder of Jo Cox, nor of PC Keith Palmer and although we don’t know the full circumstances surrounding his death, nor would it have saved Sir David,” he added.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.