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Concern about right wing websites with Irish contributions

Online hate speech accounts for about 10 per cent of all cases of racism reported to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

Image: Racism via Shutterstock

THE IMMIGRANT COUNCIL of Ireland says it is concerned about the emergence of right-wing websites with Irish contributions that remain online for weeks or months despite complaints from the public.

In the past 12 months, online hate speech has accounted for 11 of the 100 racism cases reported to the body.

Releasing the figures to coincide with the European Day for the Victims of Hate and the the second anniversary of the massacre of 77 people in attacks in Oslo and Utoya Island, chief executive Denise Charlton called for “firm action”.

“The use of websites, social media and blogs to spread hate is a challenge which Ireland and Europe ignores at their peril,” she said, noting that the problem is an issue for Ireland and not just those countries where “the far right has re-emerged”.

“Offensive, racist and foul language is used, posted both on websites and in some cases on people’s personal social media pages. Cyber racism potentially has a significant impact on online users; individuals, even though they were not always targeted directly, reported that they felt “upset”, “distressed” and “horrified” by the language used on the internet.”

The ICI claims that the country’s current laws and rules are not working as it is “unclear” what can be done if a website fails to remove an offensive post.

It believes the government, which is currently considering the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications regarding social media, needs to widen that exercise to include more sites.

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