State censorship targets republicans on social media

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Saoradh has said it is enduring a second censorship attempt by the British State in conjunction with social media corporations.

The party’s largest Facebook page, published by Junior McDaid House, the party’s Derry office, has been removed for the second time in five months, with the loss of tens of thousands of followers.

“Since the formation of Saoradh, all our social media information platforms have faced continuous MI5 directed censorship attacks,” the party said.

“Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has arbitrarily removed multiple Saoradh platforms clearly at the behest of British Crown Forces in what is political censorship with no right to appeal.

“In addition to this, the original Saoradh website was shut down; again with no option of appeal.

“This is a state directed agenda to silence the Republican message and restrict our ability to highlight community concerns and our activism. This aggressive strategy has abysmally failed. Our growth in membership and our embedded grassroots approach to community issues has seen Saoradh advance and expand nationally.”

The party is far from the only republican group to by affected by sudden censorship moves by Facebook, and even elected councillor Gary Donnelly has had his profile removed twice recently.

It was an attempt to disrupt his political activism, according to the Derry republican.

“Social media is an important tool particularly for elected representatives to contact and liaise with the public and as a result I have lost contact with a number of people who I have been dealing with in the course of my work as an elected representative,” he said.

“This blatant attempt by Facebook to censor me will not work and will be seen for what it is.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the PSNI police monitor and produce internal reports on the social media activity of politicians, journalists and ordinary citizens as well as republican groups.

The reports were sought by ‘The Detail’ magazine using Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation. It received hundreds of pages of heavily redacted material, with many pages entirely blacked out. Over 165 pages were not released at all.

A spokesperson for the PSNI incredibly justified the secrecy by claiming that if people were to be told their social media activity was being monitored, it could negatively affect their mental and physical health.

They claimed the purpose of the force’s social media monitoring and reporting “is to gain better understanding of community feeling in relation to policing and police activity”.

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