Khan Review Urges Government Action to Safeguard Democracy Amid Rising Threats

From teachers to journalists, many are facing relentless threats that undermine their ability to freely express opinions and engage in public discourse…reports Asian Lite News

In a comprehensive review addressing the complex challenges facing Britain’s democratic resilience, Dame Sara Khan has highlighted the urgent need for government intervention to combat a spectrum of threats ranging from extremism to censorship. Released on March 25, 2024, the Khan Review underscores the critical importance of preserving social cohesion and democratic principles amidst growing concerns.

The report reveals a multifaceted landscape of intimidation, harassment, and disinformation eroding the fabric of British democracy. Beyond traditional forms of extremism, the review emphasizes the pervasive impact of freedom-restricting harassment (FRH) on individuals and institutions across society. From teachers to journalists, many are facing relentless threats that undermine their ability to freely express opinions and engage in public discourse.

One of the most alarming findings of the review is the prevalence of self-censorship among Britons, with a staggering 76% refraining from expressing personal views in fear of harassment. Such widespread intimidation not only stifles individual freedoms but also threatens the core tenets of democracy.

Dame Sara Khan’s recommendations call for a strategic overhaul of the government’s approach to safeguarding democratic resilience. Key proposals include the establishment of an independent Office for Social Cohesion and Democratic Resilience (OSCDR) to address intelligence gaps and support local authorities in countering threats. Additionally, the review advocates for a five-year Social Cohesion and Democratic Resilience Strategy (SCDR) and the creation of a cross-Whitehall Cohesion Response Unit to swiftly address emerging tensions.

The report highlights the urgent need for proactive measures to prevent and respond to cohesion threats, which have contributed to a decline in public trust in democratic institutions. Just as high-risk security threats are met with robust responses, the review asserts that social cohesion and democratic resilience deserve equal attention and resources.

Dame Sara Khan’s call for action extends beyond governmental intervention, urging wider recognition and condemnation of freedom-restricting harassment. Victims of FRH, including the case of a teacher forced into hiding after displaying a controversial cartoon, illustrate the profound impact of such intimidation on individuals and communities.

Polling data included in the review paints a stark picture of the prevalence and consequences of FRH, with a significant portion of the population reporting self-censorship and life-altering harassment experiences. These findings underscore the urgency of addressing the root causes of intimidation and safeguarding democratic freedoms for all citizens.

At the local level, the review highlights the need for enhanced support for councils grappling with disinformation and extremist tactics. Strengthening the capacity of local authorities to respond effectively to evolving threats is essential in preserving social cohesion and democratic values at the grassroots level.

In conclusion, the Khan Review serves as a clarion call for decisive action to protect Britain’s democratic heritage in the face of mounting challenges. By addressing the wide-ranging threats of extremism, harassment, and censorship, the government can uphold the fundamental principles of democracy and ensure a resilient society for future generations.

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