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The Daily Mail


'Totalitarian-style' new online code that could block websites and fine them £20million for 'harmful' content will not limit press freedom, Culture Secretary promises
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6909227/Totalitarian-style-new-online-code-not-limit-press-freedom-says-Culture-Secretary.html


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'Draconian laws designed to tame the web giants will not limit press freedom, the Culture Secretary said yesterday.

In a letter to the Society of Editors, Jeremy Wright vowed that ‘journalistic or editorial content would not be affected’ by the proposals.

And he reassured free speech advocates by saying there would be safeguards to protect the role of the Press.

The Government is facing accusations that its Online Harms White Paper paves the way for totalitarian-style censorship.

The 98-page document laid out plans for an internet watchdog that would have the power to block websites from Britain if they did not adhere to its rules. The regulator could also remove non-compliant websites from search results and app stores, and stop users from accessing them via links on social media. The plans are designed to force lawless web firms to remove harmful material from their platforms.

But they have sparked fears that they could backfire and turn Britain into the first Western nation to adopt the kind of censorship usually associated with totalitarian regimes.

Former culture secretary John Whittingdale drew parallels with China, Russia and North Korea. Matthew Lesh of the Adam Smith Institute, a free market think-tank, branded the white paper a ‘historic attack on freedom of speech’.

But yesterday Mr Wright sought to reassure news chiefs that the Government would preserve Press freedoms and ensure its plans ‘did not have unintended consequences’.'



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