This week, the Online Safety Bill will reach its final stages in Parliament. The Bill aims to minimise harmful content online and put onus onto platforms to play a part in tackling inappropriate, offensive or hateful material. The timing is particularly poignant in the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January where we remember the persecution that millions faced in the Holocaust and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
As well as taking the time to remember those persecuted, Holocaust Memorial Day is a time to reflect and learn about how we can ensure there is no place in society for oppression and discrimination. This year, the day’s theme is ‘Ordinary People’ which focuses on the normal people who allowed hate to grow and ultimately manifest in genocide as well as how we, as ordinary people, can do our part in preventing it happen again by challenging discrimination in our everyday lives. We must continue to oppose all forms of racism and division.
The instant availability of content that social media and the internet bring, makes the incitement of bullying, intimidation and hate easier now than ever before. The Government’s Online Safety Bill fails to adequately protect users and consumers online. This is why Labour is committed to strengthening the bill and ensuring content is appropriately regulated so that online platforms don’t become a conduit for stoking the very divisions that pave the way for persecution.
I am proud to be part of such a diverse and cohesive community in Luton. Our community spirit transcends any differences we have, and our excellent charities and community organisations open their doors to people from all backgrounds. Luton was recently named one of the top three most generous areas in 2022 by fundraising platform JustGiving. Hatred, discrimination and persecution have no place in our town or across the UK.