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Rafts of Brussels’ legislation was copied onto the UK’s statute books following Boris Johnson’s 11th-hour withdrawal deal in 2019. And while this was done because of time constraints, questions are now being raised about its compatibility with the UK’s commitment to freedom of speech.

Among these are laws that could see broadcasters prosecuted for hate speech for criticising political opinions.

As part of the Government’s Brexit Freedoms Bill which is unveiled this week, this is being relooked at.

A Government source told the Telegraph that the broadcasting law was “a piece of legislation which we didn’t necessarily agree with at the time when we were in the European Union”.

They added: “In some quarters of the Government, there are very strong views on this.”

Under the Charter of EU Fundamental Rights, broadcasters and streaming services cannot incite “violence or hatred” against people for a string of reasons.

These include sex, race, colour, ethnic and genetic features, language, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation and “political or any other opinion”.

The measure was carried into UK law after it copied the EU’s Audiovisual and Media Services Directive.

Its inclusion onto the UK’s statute books has led to fears in the Government that this is too broad and that media regulator Ofcom could punish broadcasters over criticism of political opinion.

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There have also been worries that it could lead to programme-makers self-censoring to prevent possible prosecution.

It comes after much-loved comedy shows Little Britain and Fawlty Towers were removed from streaming services over the use of blackface and racial slurs.

To mark the two-year anniversary of Brexit, the Government is revisiting much of these laws.

A policy document – officially called The Benefits of Brexit – states: “It is the Government’s intention to replace the EU definition in the Communications Act 2003 with a UK specific measure over the coming months due to our concerns about the chilling effect it has on free speech.”

David Jones, a former Brexit minister, said: “The Charter of Fundamental Rights no longer applies to the UK, as a consequence of our withdrawal from the EU.

“It is therefore good news that the Communications Act is to be amended so as to ensure that British standards of free speech are supported and not undermined.”

Former Brexit Secretary Lord Frost has already raised concerns about allowing the EU legislation to remain in British law.

He led a task force that previously warned that it could create a “myriad” of problems” in the future.

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