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Anti-terror bill could undermine academic freedom – ex-MI5 chief

Anti-terror bill could undermine academic freedom - ex-MI5 chief

A former British intelligence chief has warned that the government’s Counter Terrorism and Security Bill could restrict freedom of speech in universities.

Baroness Manningham-Buller said extremist opinions need to be “exposed, challenged and countered,” rather than banned.

Her comments follow a report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights earlier this month, which warned new counter-terrorism laws would “restrict” freedom of speech on university campuses.

Senior academics have called for a campaign against the bill, arguing it could turn university staff into “thought police.”

New legislation includes plans to make the government’s ‘Prevent’ strategy a statutory obligation for universities, meaning educational institutions would have a legal duty to ban speakers who are considered “extremist.”

Manningham-Buller’s spoke about the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill during a debate at the House of Lords on Wednesday.

The former MI5 chief – who led the organization at the time of the 7/7 London bombings in 2005 – said Britons should not compromise their values in our fight against terrorism.

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