"Having read yesterday's faintly amusing but rather pointless attempt to ridicule my equalities bill, it is probably a good time to outline some of the proposals that we are currently drawing up for that corner of the Internet known as 'the blogosphere'.
This government is duty bound to ensure that the equalities bill applies in equal measure to 'blogs' and to mainstream journalism. And here we would include the comments sections of those blogs. It is indeed here that some of the most ill-informed and bigoted political views are currently aired causing offence to more moderate and reasonable commentators.
This government will be expecting the moderators of the various blog sites to play a major part in ensuring that there is a balance within these comments section. A post relating to gender equality for example would be required to publish a suitable amount of comments with an unbiased perspective in order to ensure that less constructive, anti-social views were drowned out.
It is important that even in this relative backwater of opinion and policy formation negative and reactionary attitudes are not allowed to spread unchecked. Therefore the onus will be on the moderators to offer a balance of opinion, even in cases where none is actually available. We will of course leave it up to these moderators themselves to decide how they go about this, as it is not our intention to interfere. We also hope to see the introduction of ground breaking 'all-women comments sections' - especially in matters such as gender equality for example where the views of women are undoubtedly more pertinent and more poignant than those of other genders.
These are exciting times and we hope to cultivate an environment within the blogosphere where equality and freedom of speech can co-exist. And we look to a future where, if we are diligent, these same entities can, if you like, be 'Harmanised'.
And when it comes to freedom of speech finally let me add this: I am capable of tolerating this old chestnut freedom like the next person. But there's one thing we all know and one thing we should always remember: Freedom of speech might well have a place in modern Britain. However it can never and will never mean that you have the right to shout 'Vote Conservative' in a cinema. Or, anywhere else, for that matter.
By Harriet Hormone, Minister for Harmanisation.
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