The best way to combat the growing problem of hate propaganda on the Internet is to "keep it in the open" rather than shut it down, a U of T forum has been told.
The approach was suggested by Ken McVay, who says his Web sites in Canada and other countries have targeted and discredited several leading exponents of white supremacist views.
One man, he says, even had trouble getting a job after he was exposed for his racist views.
"I don't want to shut them down, I want them out in the open", McVay told about 80 people this week at the forum sponsored by the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada.
Be said that if the racist views were censored, those people would go underground and continue "doing their damage just like termites, hidden away."
His view is shared by Detective Dino Doria, of the Metro police hate crimes unit, who told the audience: "I don't want to see censorship on the Net. If groups go underground it will be a lot harder to detect. At least we know what we're dealing with."
The "hatemongers of today ... are promoting Hitler cleansing. They're trying to portray him as a misunderstood patriot, who was just defending Germany's honour", McVay said.
He was one of several speakers who told the audience that in the past few years the Internet has become a vehicle to distribute hate propaganda not only in Canada, but around the world.
The British Columbia resident said he started his work -- called the Nizkor Project -- in the early 1990s after discovering that groups were using the Internet to expound such views that the slaughter of millions of people in Nazi Germany never took place.
He described how other concerned Internet users have helped him for free in his work, such as putting information on the worldwide network of computers about the trials of Nazi war criminals following the war. McVay gets private funding along with tax-deductible donations.
"You can refute the lies, the twisted and bent propaganda on the Internet and it will be there for everyone to see", noted McVay. Education is the best way to deal with the problem, he said.