Travellers: Hate Crime:Written question - HL10975

Asked on: 23 October 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Travellers: Hate Crime
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth on 18 July (HL9254), what steps they are taking with media agencies and the Ofcom to combat hate crime and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities; and what assessment they have made of the findings in the report by Goldsmiths, University of London, Recognise, Report, Resolve, published in June, of hate speech frequently being published on the comments sections of media outlets’ websites.
Answered on: 05 November 2018

We are clear that there is no place for hate speech anywhere in society. While freedom of speech is a vital cornerstone of our society, everybody must remember that they have responsibilities not to spread hatred or fear.

As part of the EU High Level Group on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Other Forms of Intolerance, the UK has been a leading voice in the creation of a voluntary EU Code of Conduct which holds social media companies responsible for the removal of all illegal hate speech from their platforms within 24 hours. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Microsoft, Instagram and other internet companies have signed this Code and the third monitoring exercise in December 2017 showed that the companies removed on average 70 per cent of illegal hate speech notified to them.

As part of the Hate Crime Action Plan, the Government has supported the Society of Editors to produce a Moderation Guide for online comments, which will be revisited in our continuing work with the Society of Editors and Independent Press Standards Organisation to update the Reporting Diversity booklet. This will consider hatred against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities alongside other racially and religiously motivated hatred.

Additionally, in line with the recommendations given in the report Recognise, Report, Resolve, we support efforts to improve awareness and reporting of hate crime, including through our £55,000 grant to HertsGATE (Gypsy and Traveller Empowerment), to work to encourage reporting of hate crime in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

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