- oD 50.50
The marginalisation of dissent
Two sources for the growing illiberalism of democracies have come to light in recent decades: technological advance and the securitisation of our states against terrorist attack and the commission of crime. As a result, social media users living in democratic societies are now the most intensively surveilled groups in the world. Moreover, having lost the presumption of innocence, many of us engaged in fully legal democratic activities such as environmental protest, investigative journalism or simply being Muslim, have found ourselves caught up in an unregulated surveillance web.
A third contributor to creeping authoritarianism is the attempt, often in the name of ‘majority reassurance’, to carry on governing by one community national standard in a rapidly diversifying world. This year’s World Forum on Democracy is devoting a plenary and debate strand to: Lifting the veil of fear – building trust and resilience in diverse societies. In this space, openDemocracy looks at chilling effects, hate speech legislation, de-radicalisation programmes, anticipatory profiling, treatments of protesters, dissidents and whistleblowers, new McCarthyisms, and all the other ways in which our societies may be marginalising dissent.
The UK Government’s Prevent strategy has led to official claims that mistrust of mainstream media and anger about government policies can be symptomatic of violent extremism.
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