2001 article indicates that questions of EU dictatorship and
censorship go back at least 15 years.
Euro-court outlaws criticism of EU
European Union Declares War On Internet Free Speech
"By signing this code of conduct, the IT companies commit to continuing their efforts to tackle illegal hate speech online. This will include the continued development of internal procedures and staff training to guarantee that they review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.
"The IT companies will also endeavor to strengthen their ongoing partnerships with civil society organisations who will help flag content that promotes incitement to violence and hateful conduct. The IT companies and the European Commission also aim to continue their work in identifying andpromoting independent counter-narratives [emphasis added], new ideas and initiatives, and supporting educational programs that encourage critical thinking."
"The IT Companies share the European Commission's and EU Member States' commitment to tackle illegal hate speech online. Illegal hate speech, as defined by the Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law and national laws transposing it, means all conduct publicly inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, color, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin....
"The IT Companies support the European Commission and EU Member States in the effort to respond to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally. The spread of illegal hate speech online not only negatively affects the groups or individuals that it targets, it also negatively impacts those who speak out for freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination in our open societies and has a chilling effect on the democratic discourse on online platforms.
"While the effective application of provisions criminalizing hate speech is dependent on a robust system of enforcement of criminal law sanctions against the individual perpetrators of hate speech, this work must be complemented with actions geared at ensuring that illegal hate speech online is expeditiously acted upon by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame. To be considered valid in this respect, a notification should not be insufficiently precise or inadequately substantiated.
"The IT Companies, taking the lead on countering the spread of illegal hate speech online, have agreed with the European Commission on a code of conduct setting the following public commitments:
"The IT Companies to have in place clear and effective processes to review notifications regarding illegal hate speech on their services so they can remove or disable access to such content. The IT companies to have in place Rules or Community Guidelines clarifying that they prohibit the promotion of incitement to violence and hateful conduct.
"The IT Companies to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.
"The IT Companies and the European Commission, recognising the value of independent counter speech against hateful rhetoric and prejudice, aim to continue their work in identifying and promoting independent counter-narratives, new ideas and initiatives and supporting educational programs that encourage critical thinking."
"The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech. Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalize young people and racists use to spread violence and hatred. This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that the internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected. I welcome the commitment of worldwide IT companies to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary."
"The agreement comes amid repeated accusations from ex-Muslims that social media organizations are censoring them online. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain has now begun collecting examples from its followers of Facebook censoring 'atheist, secular and ex-Muslim content' after false 'mass reporting' by 'cyber Jihadists.' They have asked their supporters to report details and evidence of any instances of pages and groups being 'banned [or] suspended from Facebook for criticizing Islam and Islamism.'"
"Far from tackling online 'cyber jihad,' the agreement risks having the exact opposite effect and entrapping any critical discussion of religion under vague 'hate speech' rules. Poorly-trained Facebook or Twitter staff, perhaps with their own ideological bias, could easily see heated criticism of Islam and think it is 'hate speech,' particularly if pages or users are targeted and mass reported by Islamists."
"Hate speech laws are already too broad and ambiguous in much of Europe. This agreement fails to properly define what 'illegal hate speech' is and does not provide sufficient safeguards for freedom of expression.
"It devolves power once again to unelected corporations to determine what amounts to hate speech and police it — a move that is guaranteed to stifle free speech in the mistaken belief this will make us all safer. It won't. It will simply drive unpalatable ideas and opinions underground where they are harder to police — or to challenge.
"There have been precedents of content removal for unpopular or offensive viewpoints and this agreement risks amplifying the phenomenon of deleting controversial — yet legal — content via misuse or abuse of the notification processes."
"In short, the 'code of conduct' downgrades the law to a second-class status, behind the 'leading role' of private companies that are being asked to arbitrarily implement their terms of service. This process, established outside an accountable democratic framework, exploits unclear liability rules for online companies. It also creates serious risks for freedom of expression, as legal — but controversial — content may well be deleted as a result of this voluntary and unaccountable take-down mechanism.
"This means that this 'agreement' between only a handful of companies and the European Commission is likely in breach of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (under which restrictions on fundamental rights should be provided for by law), and will, in practical terms, overturn case law of the European Court of Human Rights on the defense of legal speech."
"By deciding that 'xenophobic' comment in reaction to the crisis is also 'racist,' Facebook has made the view of the majority of the European people (who, it must be stressed, are opposed to Chancellor Merkel's policies) into 'racist' views, and so is condemning the majority of Europeans as 'racist.' This is a policy that will do its part in pushing Europe into a disastrous future.
"It's still a matter of censorship. They decide what's acceptable. Now we have to be careful about what we post and what we share. Does this mean we can't criticize Arab governments anymore?"
"After enormous grassroots pressure from Gatestone's readers, the Swedish media started reporting on Facebook's heavy-handed censorship. It backfired, and Facebook went into damage-control mode. They put Ingrid's account back up — without any explanation or apology. Ironically, their censorship only gave Ingrid's video more attention.
"Facebook and the EU have backed down — for now. But they're deadly serious about stopping ideas they don't like. They'll be back."
Merkel Panics! Tells British Voters That They Would Be
Punished If They Vote Brexit German Chancellor Angela Merkel accused of trying to bully Britain into staying in the EU.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed for Britain to stay in the EU during a press conference in Berlin
Boris Johnson accused the Foreign Office of orchestrating the threats, and said it suggested EU leaders had ‘hit the panic button’ as polls shifted in favour of the Leave camp.
‘The Foreign Office is now desperately wheeling out foreign leaders to threaten the British people with retaliation if they dare to vote to leave and take back control,’ said the former London mayor.
‘The Germans and the Dutch must be worried that if we stop sending Brussels £350million a week they will have to pick up our tab for the EU’s largesse. Angela Merkel’s claims that we will have more negotiating influence if we stay in the EU are completely hollow. David Cameron tried to get reforms to free movement but she blocked them.
‘The In campaign are panicking because they can see that people are turning against them and simply do not believe their relentless campaign of doom and gloom.’
Former Tory defence secretary Liam Fox hit out at the ‘veiled threats’ from Mrs Merkel and other EU leaders, saying: ‘When will they understand we will not be bullied into staying?’ Labour MP and Leave campaigner Kate Hoey said the German leader would be ‘well advised to stay out of what is a very, very important vote for British democracy’.
Former Tory defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth said Mrs Merkel’s refusal to offer serious concessions during David Cameron’s renegotiation showed Britain had no influence inside the EU. ‘Britain was instrumental in rebuilding Germany after the war and helping to restore democracy,’ he said. ‘To be lectured by them for wanting to reclaim our own democracy is a bit rich, and very disappointing.
He added: ‘The idea that we have influence inside the EU is for the birds.’
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested the veiled threat to punish Britain was bogus, as any attempt at a trade war would hit the economies of EU member states hard.
He said: ‘Does Mrs Merkel want to punish German car manufacturers from whom we import billions of pounds of cars each year?’
Mrs Merkel has so far kept out of the EU referendum debate because of fears that a German Chancellor lecturing British voters would backfire.
But with the polls this week suggesting support for Brexit is gathering, she has waded in.
Speaking in Berlin, Mrs Merkel said Britain would have far more influence ‘at the bargaining table’ – and suggested it would struggle to strike a good trade deal. ‘You will never get a really good result in negotiations, particularly on very important issues, when you’re not in the room and giving input,’ she said.