Greek far-right political party Golden Dawn now has a presence in Australia. Last week they linked up with an Australia far-right political party for a rally in support of Golden Dawn. Social media has played an important role in bringing the groups together.
The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI), an Australian charity, has examined the role social media played in bringing these groups together. OHPI has also looked at racist content posted by the Facebook page of Golden Dawn in Australia. The content is clearly unlawful in Australia.
This incident shows how online tools can aid real world activities by far-right groups. This is occurring at a time when Australia’s laws against racism are themselves under threat of repeal. Despite the threat to Australia’s anti-racism laws, public support against racism remains high. The laws that are said to have worked well for decades have the support of 88% of the public as well as widespread support from community organisation.
OHPI’s CEO, Dr Andre Oboler, explained that, “laws against racism play an important role in countering cyber-racism in particular. These laws has an unexpected but beneficial effect, by making content unlawful, they give social media companies an acceptable hook on which they can hang a decision to either remove the content or block access to it from people in that jurisdiction.”
OHPI’s submission to the Government regarding potential changes to S 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act focuses on significant impact the changes would have on Australia’s ability to have racism removed. Dr Oboler added that, “for now at least the laws are in place, the content of the Australians for Golden Dawn page is unlawful, and Facebook should act to close the page or block access to it form within Australia.”
The Opinion Article
Andre Oboler, “Golden Dawn’s Australian Fascists“, Jerusalem Post – Blogs, 8 May 2014
- A far-right rally took place last week in Brisbane, Australia, in support of Golden Dawn
- The rally was organised by Australia First and supported by Australians for Golden Dawn
- The two far-right groups connected through social media
- Unlike Europe, in Australia public support is for limits on racist speech
- There has been wide spread opposition to proposals to change Australia’s position
- Social Media companies do not have to facilitate fascist groups
- Facebook should close the account of Australian for Golden Dawn as their postings are unlawful here
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The OHPI Briefing
- Traces the creation of Facebook pages for Australians for Golden Dawn and Australia First
- Background on the Brisbane rally (the counter rally against fascism was far larger)
- Background on Golden Dawn
- Background on Australia First
- Background on Australians for Golden Dawn
- Examples of their racism from Australians for Golden Dawn and links to report each item
- Discussion of the way free services from both Facebook and Google are being used by these far-right groups