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UK House of Lords amends proposed religious hate bill

[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.

Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase...

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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