Irish public is failing to report online racism, Hotline.ie says

10 Apr 2012

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Paul Durrant, manager, Hotline.ie

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The Irish internet watchdog for illegal content, Hotline.ie, is claiming the Irish public is failing to use the service to anonymously report incidents of incitement to hatred online.

Hotline.ie, which began running in 1999, is run by the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland. The primary focus of Hotline.ie is to combat child pornography.

The site is partly financed by the European Commission’s Safer Internet Plus Programme.

Hotline.ie said today a recent survey of 1,000 internet users suggests that two in five people are often startled by things they come across on the internet, while 40pc of people in Ireland believe that we have become more used to graphic and offensive content online.

Speaking today, Paul Durrant, manager, Hotline.ie, spoke about incidents such as the Twitter attack on the footballer Fabrice Muamba and the racist outburst made by a female passenger on the London Tube last year, which was captured and broadcast on YouTube.

"The UK tube attack and the racist Fabrice Muamba tweets are not unique to our neighbours," said Durrant. "We regularly encounter incitement to hatred against the travelling community and other minority groups in Ireland."

He said that based on the Hotline survey, people are often startled by online content, but they aren’t reporting it.

"Hotline.ie exists to allow the public to anonymously report suspected racist content found online. If our analysts confirm a case as breaking Irish law, we will then do our best to have it removed," he said. 

Durrant said the public can contact Hotline.ie regarding Illegal online activity, including child pornography, material causing incitement to hatred and fraudulent websites that try to illegally obtain a user’s banking or personal details.

Hotline.ie itself is supervised by the Department of Justice, Office for Internet Safety, in co-operation with An Garda Síochána. It’s also a member of INHOPE, the international network of Hotlines. 

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Carmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com