There may be no doubt that the government’s plans to counter ‘Online Harms’ unveiled yesterday are based on good intentions. But because the old proverb reminds us, the street to hell is paved with those. Every week, as they say, is a long time in politics. Just last Friday Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, himself a former Culture Secretary, introduced to nice fanfare that superstar human rights lawyer Amal Clooney will be Britain’s ‘special envoy on media freedom’. It was purported to be a signal to the world that Britain will lead the cost towards the rise of despotic leaders and the introduction of Draconian censorship laws around the globe.

Yet three days later, the same Government of which Mr Hunt is a senior member proposed organizing an official regulator in the UK armed with the kind of repressive powers we affiliate with totalitarian police states. Will Special Envoy Clooney lead a designer-needed demonstration up Whitehall in protest? I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Share The net Harms White Paper proposes a sweeping, punitive system of regulation that hopes to treatment a range of issues, from terrorist propaganda and little one pornography to ‘pretend news’ and trolling. In a chilling part that could have been lifted out of George Orwell’s 1984, it states the home Secretary of the day would signal off the foundations on terror and child exploitation content material. For the time being, the ostensible targets of these measures are tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter, which have been rightly slated for internet hosting doubtlessly harmful content material.

But give censors an inch and they will take a mile. It might, I predict, be only a matter of time earlier than Britain’s proud history of media freedom and freedom of speech lies in tatters. The White Paper’s one-dimension-matches-all approach would hand extraordinary powers to a new regulator, Ofweb, to positive, restrict, and finally bar non-compliant web sites – no matter how massive they are.

Tory MP and former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, writing on the weekend, were utterly justified in warning that the proposals danger dragging Britain into a ‘Draconian censorship regime’ extra akin to China, Russia, or North Korea. No other Western Democratic state has countenanced equally far-reaching controls. In fact, Theresa May is not any Putin-model ‘strongman’ and present Home Secretary said Javid would make an unlikely Kim Jong-un. But once such an apparatus is in place, what is to cease a future, extra-regressive authorities from utilizing these powers for its personal political ends? Imagine Labor’s blinkered Home Secretary Diane Abbott, entrusted with overseeing the regulator which enforces the rules for what can and can’t be seen online?

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While her hapless TV performances in recent years counsel she is probably not a lot of good with numbers, we are able to have a fair notion of what her No 1 goal could be. Since Jeremy Corbyn took management of the Labor Party in 2015, he has waged a shameless Stalinist war on what he sees as the difficulty-making media. His party could not agree about Brexit or a lot else, but there are not any divisions on Labor’s entrance-bench with regards to bashing the Press. Deputy leader Tom Watson – himself the recipient of £500,000 of donations in a single year from multi-millionaire Max Mosley, an ardent campaigner for stricter Press control – has long crusaded for higher media restrictions.

Years earlier than Watson turned Labor’s deputy leader, he was a zealous supporter of the superstar-led Hacked Off marketing campaign for tighter Press regulation. Back then, he had no qualms about utilizing the victims of cellphone-hacking because the human shields behind which he could advance his political agenda. Last summer, in a rare speech spelling out what a Labor authorities would do, Corbyn also made clear his own disturbing need for government-accepted journalism produced by a tame, state-financed media. He advised plans for a particular tax on tech giants, to not fund social care or something helpful, however to finance ‘public interest journalism’ as outlined, not by the public, however by a Labour-controlled organization.

There isn’t any question that the current Labor Party hierarchy would like to nationalize the information to stop the media asking awkward questions of these in power. Simply because it’s on the front web page of The Sun or The Mail would not robotically make it news,’ Corbyn stated final summer. Theresa May is not any Putin-fashion ‘strongman’ and present Home Secretary said Javid would make an unlikely Kim Jong-un (pictured in the present day). But once such an apparatus is in place, what is to cease a future, extra-regressive government from utilizing these powers for its personal political ends? Corbyn’s contempt for Press freedom has some stunning allies in high locations.