British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that “a new and pressing challenge” in the fight against terrorism is getting extremist material taken down from the internet.
Addressing a special sitting of federal parliament, Cameron said: “We must not allow the internet to be an ungoverned space”.
There was a role for government in this but also one for companies.
In the United Kingdom the government was pressing them to do more, including strengthening filters, improving reporting mechanisms and being more proactive in taking down this harmful material.
“This is their social responsibility and we expect them to live up to it,” he said.
Cameron said there was no opt-out from dealing with terrorism.
“In both our countries we have seen some of our young people radicalised, going off to fight in Iraq and Syria, and even appalling plots to murder innocent people back in our own countries.”
This threat had to be confronted at its source, so it was right that once again, with others, British and Australian forces were operating alongside each other, supporting those in Iraq and Syria who wanted a future for their countries where all their people were represented and there was no place for extremism.
As well as dealing with the consequences of this threat, we had to deal with the “root causes” of terrorism, Cameron said.
“And let us be frank. It’s not poverty, though of course our nations are united in tackling deprivation wherever it exists. It’s not exclusion from the mainstream. Of course we have more to do but we are both successful multicultural democracies where opportunities abound.
"And it’s not foreign policy. I can show you examples all over the world where British aid and British action have saved millions of Muslim lives, from Kosovo to Syria – but that is not exactly the real point. In our democracies, we must never give in to the idea that disagreeing with a foreign policy in any way justifies terrorist outrages.”
The root cause was in fact the “extremist narrative”, Cameron said.
This meant “we must ban extremist preachers from our country, we must root out extremism from our schools, universities and prisons”, as well as dealing with the internet.
In this effort “we must work with the overwhelming majority of Muslims who abhor the twisted narrative that has seduced some of our people. We must continue to celebrate Islam as a great world religion of peace”, Cameron said.