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Prevent duty guidance to universities unlawfully violates freedom of speech, rules court of appeal

The Prevent duty legally binds universities to curbing on-campus radicalisation as part of the UK’s counter-terror legislation strategy. Yesterday, the court of appeal found the government’s guidance to universities on carrying out the duty to be unlawful. The ruling argued that the guidance does not sufficiently inform universities of their duty to ensure freedom of speech. The judicial review focused on paragraph 11 of the Prevent duty guidance to higher education institutions in England and Wales published in 2015, which says that universities should not allow events featuring external speakers to proceed “if the views being expressed, or likely to be expressed, constitute extremist views that risk drawing people into terrorism or are shared by terrorist groups”, unless this risk can be “fully mitigated”. Read more

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Proposed terror laws could ‘violate human rights and infringe freedom of speech’, MPs tell government

New terror laws proposed by the government may violate human rights and undermine freedom of speech, MPs have warned. The Joint Committee on Human Rights called for three clauses of the controversial Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill to be deleted and gave a total of 27 amendments. Peers and MPs said the first clause, which would make statements deemed supportive of a banned group illegal, restricted free speech and could criminalise “valid debates” on what organisations should be banned. Read more

MP’s call to extend Copyright Directive filters to ‘extremist’ material attacked by Article 19

An amendment to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill that would extend copyright filtering to cover ‘extremist’ material has been condemned by human rights organisation Article 19. The organisation warns that the amendment, proposed by Labour MP Stephen Doughty, amounts to censorship and would, in any case, likely contravene Article 15 of the European Union E-Commerce Directive. Read more