Powerlessness can sometimes bring tears. At the moment mine are somewhere between helpless, anger and compassion. Or what I imagine to be compassion.
At the moment I am chasing a response from the police on incitement to inspire hate speech and hate crime.
In a chain of events in which no single person is accountable, there is not one person in the system of government and justice who can take accountability to take action.
The chain is something like:
- A sexual offender commits a crime in prison
- The press link the facts that the sex offender is a trans person in a womens prison
- Editorially and from a readers perspective trans people in a woman’s prison are seen to be an increased risk and more likely to commit a sex crime
- This accumulates and a person decides to collect the evidence and place into a blog
- The blog is hosted via a DNS service in the Bahamas and data on servers in Iceland
- The person writing the blog goes to lengths to maintain the anonymity
- WordPress acts as the deployed software to host the blog and has a policy of allowing free speech
- I post my disagreement with the LGB Alliance and support inclusion of trans people on Twitter
- People openly attack my views on Twitter; bullying and harassing me
- Some of these comments are informed by the views circulated on WordPress, social media and newspapers
- I am directed to the website that is generating hate
- Through open discussion on Twitter I establish that the accusations made are baseless and the evidence is the opposite; trans people more than women are at far higher risk of sexual offence
- The Bahamas have no laws against hate crime
- WordPress have a free speech policy
- Twitter poorly regulates users making it hard to identify an individual generating hate
- The media are self regulating making it very hard to justify a complaint
- The police have no jurisdiction in Iceland or the Bahamas
And it is in this moment that I am powerless. Everyone in this chain is powerless to the concept of free speech. But free speech never means hate speech.
By virtue of being anonymous people generate personas of hate. These create communities of extreme views without discussion or open debate.
These openly exist on the internet. Hosted by organisations making money from hate speech and hate crime. This is then distributed to shareholders.
Meanwhile advertisers, their agencies indirectly support hate crime by supporting organisations that host hate speech.
I’ve always been an open platform person. But only where an open platform is open perspective. This means balance. This means the avoidance of biased hegemony.
It means having all platforms subject to similar levels of regulation.
At that I cry. Hate will continue. Someone one somewhere where live in fear of themselves. And another person will have thoughts of self harm. And someone else may follow through on those thoughts