The EU’s relentless attack on free speech

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the watcher

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The EU’s relentless attack on free speech
« on: June 03, 2016, 07:46:06 PM »

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New plans to tackle online hate speech pose a threat to us all.
2 June 2016


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Yesterday the European Union’s powerful unelected executive branch – the European Commission – announced sweeping plans to combat ‘illegal online hate speech’.

Working with equally powerful IT companies, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, the European Commission unveiled a code of conduct that will ensure ‘online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally’. Upon receiving a ‘valid removal notification’, IT companies will have to remove or disable access to the content in less than 24 hours.

Because the EU’s code of conduct was unveiled without any form of public consultation, public discussion by democratically elected leaders, or even a vote, it is unclear how the EU and IT companies reached their decision and drafted the code. Yet, as a result of this decision, the civil liberties of 500million people will now be affected.

So, what exactly is the content that IT companies have been given blanket authority to censure? According to EU law, illegal hate speech ‘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, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin’. 

Leaving aside the ‘incitement to violence’ aspect of the definition, which is largely uncontentious , hate speech is defined as including ‘incitement to hatred’, which is both circular and so vague as to mean almost anything.

Tim Coleman
Writer and Lawyer

Source-- Spiked

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« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 07:52:19 PM by the watcher »

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