At long last, a tiny dam is being put up against the poisonous water of hate speech which now fills the internet. The abuse of Muslims, black people, Jews and almost every group that has a distinct identity is now reaching alarming proportions. The British press filters out most of this evil language, thanks to professional journalism and an ethics that even when deformed by red-top sensationalism knows there are limits.

Elsewhere this is not the case. The elsewhere takes two forms. The first is the spread of populist newspapers screaming accusations and sensationalist writing at the top of its voice. In many new EU member states, a Gresham’s law is operating of bad journalism driving out good. Anti-Jewish writing is widespread. So too are racist attacks. Foreign students in Russia are told to hide in their university halls of residence next week as Adolf Hitler’s birthday is celebrated by Russian thugs going out to beat up foreigners. They do not do this spontaneously but are told by various publications that such behaviour is OK.

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