"Racism on the Internet"
A Submission to the Internet Industry Association
For Consideration for Inclusion into the Internet Industry
Associations Code of Practice
Prepared by the
Bnai Brith Anti-Defamation Commission
Mr Mark Briskin, Director of Research and Publications, B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission
Dr Paul Gardner, Reader in Education, Monash University
Mr Mark Moshinsky, Barrister at Law, Victoria
Bnai Brith Anti-Defamation Commission
Phone: (61-03) 9527-1228 Fax: (61-03) 9525-9127
Chairman: Mr Grahame Leonard
Executive Director: Mr Danny Ben-Moshe
The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), a national Jewish anti-racism organisation, welcomes the Internet Industry Associations proposed Code of Ethics (The Code). The Code is clearly an important step in the regulation of illegal material on the Internet.
In addition to illegal material such as child pornography, the ADC believes that it is important that the Code extend to material that incites racial hatred. In the ADCs view the code should extend to and effectively prevent dissemination via the Internet of material, which is illegal under the racial hatred provisions (part IIA of the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975).
At present, because of the unduly restrictive definition of "Illegal Content" and related provisions, the Code falls short of achieving this.
Moreover, the ADC believes that for the Codes provisions to be effective, the definition of illegality must, as discussed below, be extended to published material.
The Problem of Racism on the Internet
The ADC has identified several, Australian home pages that are exclusively devoted to the dissemination of hate. (A list of hate site addresses appears as an appendix). The appearance of racist sites on the Internet is, in the assessment of the ADC, a worrying trend. This is because it provides a means through which racist groups can build contacts through the use of links and recruit new members who would otherwise not be exposed to this material.
A clear example of the propagation of hate is provided by viewing the home page of the Southern Cross Hammerskins (http://www.hinet.net.au/~wp88/main.htm) which states:
"Welcome to Southern Cross Hammerskins, Australia. The HAMMERSKIN NATION is the fastest growing NATIONAL SOCIALIST WHITE RACIAL SKINHEAD movement in the world today. We have loyal members in every country on the globe where our Northern European forefathers have staked their claim. Sydney Area SOUTHERN CROSS HAMMERSKIN is the New South Wales realm of the HAMMERSKIN NATION. SOUTHERN CROSS HAMMERSKINS promote WHITE PRIDE, WHITE LOYALTY, WHITE HERITAGE and WHITE POWER. It is our birth right. HAIL THE CROSSED HAMMERS"
The call for violence is clear, demonstrated by the following graphic:
Definition of Illegal Content
Illegal content is defined in Section IIA of the Code as follows:
"Illegal Content means content, the mere possession of which is illegal under an applicable State, Territory or Commonwealth law."
This definition is unduly restrictive. Taken literally, only materials which it is illegal to possess (e.g. prohibited drugs) are covered. The definition is not particularly relevant to the Internet where it is the publication (used in the sense of defamation law) of material that is relevant.
The ADC suggests that the definition be altered by substituting "publication" for "mere possession". Also it is suggested that the Code should aim to have a national standard and this should be the highest level of protection against racial hatred of any Australian jurisdiction. Therefore, the ADC suggests "an applicable" be changed to "any".
Electronic Mail (Email)
In addition to propagating hate through home pages, racism is also disseminated via Email. For example, an Australian Jew recently received the following Email:
"Suck your cock you filthy jew loving vomit bin. We all know that in the end that if there is enough nazi hate filled beings, then victory is assured. Sieg Hail!
My hate and that of my family, friends and neighbours grows every day, stronger and louder. Just to make your own kind less secure, there has been no diminish on the stockpile of guns for the inevitable...despite Port Arthur."
This is an example of material that should be treated as "illegal content". The Code should require the relevant Internet Service Provider to take action in the case of the offensive Email such as quoted above.
Furthermore, should the recipient of the Email wish to take further action against the sender of the Email, for example by referring the case to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, the ISP should provide relevant name, address and contact details in order to facilitate the complaint.
Proposals for Implementation by the Internet Industry Association
For the Code to be effective specific measures to ensure its implementation must be undertaken. The ADC recommends the following:
The IIA should establish a central address to which interested parties can refer complaints of published Illegal content;
All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should send an Email message to all subscribers informing them in laymans terms that a code has been adopted which makes the publication and possession of material, such as child pornography, bomb making and racism prohibited. The ISP would inform Internet subscribers that any sites displaying this material can refer to a central address as noted in point 1 above;
On adoption of the Code, action can immediately be taken by ISPs to withdraw services from groups, such as those listed in the appendix, who breach the Racial Discrimination Act;
The IIA should publish a six monthly review of complaints received and action taken under the Code, which should be sent to relevant public interest groups;
For both E-mails and Internet, a system should be in place so that all ISPs are informed of users denied access. This will help to ensure that someone who breaches the Code will not simply commit the same offence with another ISP.
The Bnai Brith Anti-Defamation Commission makes itself available to the IIA for ongoing consultation regarding matters of racism and the Internet.
The Internet has revolutionised communications, and trends indicate that the number of users will continue to grow.
The ADC therefore believes the onus is on the ISPs to ensure that they take effective and responsible action against those who wish to use the Internet to ferment hate, dissension and crime. The Internet is a vehicle by which people around the world can communicate their ideas, thoughts, and broaden their horizons. These ideals shared by the majority should not be threatened by the minority.
The average Australian would not allow a vehement racist into his home to preach his message of hate, and it is morally incumbent on the IIA to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that these peddlers of hate do not gain entry into homes and offices via the personal computer.
Racist Internet Sites in Australia
Neo-Nazism, Skinheads and White Power
The Neo-Nazi skinhead movement on the Internet is perhaps one of the most hard core modes of spreading racism on the Internet, promoting a blatant hatred of Jews, Asians and other minorities. Although such sites were previously low in number and quality and were predominantly based in the United States, there has been a resurgence world wide, and Australia has seen the establishment of a number of the hate sites. These organisations and their home pages include:
National Action is a neo-Nazi anti-Asian, anti-Semitic, pro-apartheid group that advocates the deportation of non-whites. It has been involved in violent incidents in several Australian states. One item of graffiti it daubed over the home of a Uniting Church Minister was "Nigger lover, Jew lover, poofter lover".
Its aim is declared on its home page: "ONE AIM: AN INDEPENDENT WHITE AUSTRALIA"
Blood and Honour Australia
This groups home page espouses the use of "White Power" through Neo-nazi music.
Southern Cross Hammerskins (as listed above)
(Details provided earlier)
These racist groups employ a religious facade to espouse racism. These include:
This group espouses the racist idea of a Jewish conspiracy to extend control over the world for the Jews own malicious reasons.
The Covenant Vision Ministry
Similar claims are made by this group for example, it quotes a fictitious Rabbi as saying:
" Our greed for money was stronger than our love for God, so we allowed the Jewish money changers to dominate our economy with their usury system and now control us."
This group also attacks Asians. For example, it says, "I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians."
Similar arguments have been advanced by (edited by WEJ) some other websites:
This group questions the extent of the Holocaust, claiming that it has been largerly fabricated in order to advance Jewish political goals, most notably the establishment of Israel.
The Holocaust is also questioned by:
Of the Holocaust, for example, they say "every lie in the evil Zionist-controlled system is designed to exploit; every lie keeps Yahweh's system of evil securely in place .The fact is, the Holocaust is about money for Israel ."
B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission
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