UK House of Lords amends proposed religious hate bill Greg Sampson at 4:16 PM ET
[JURIST] Britain's House of Lords [official website] on Tuesday substantially amended the Blair government's controversial Racial and Religious Hatred Bill [text; BBC Q/A]. The bill outlawing incitement to religious hatred was originally proposed last year [JURIST report], and Prime Minister Tony Blair began pushing again for its adoption after the July bombings in London. Critics of the proposed legislation, including comedians [JURIST report] as well as civil libertarians, have argued the measure would ban free speech. Under the amended version [official amendments] of the bill, the government would be able to apply the law only in the context of a criminal prosecution. The amended bill now goes back to the House of Commons; it is unclear whether the government will accept some of the amendments or will try to override the Lords. Reuters has more.
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