Polish journalists voice concern over freedom of speech in Germany
PR dla Zagranicy
An association of Polish journalists has voiced concern over new anti-hate speech regulations in neighbouring Germany that it says may pose a threat to freedom of speech in that country.
Image: geralt/pixabay.com/CC0 Creative Commons
According to the Polish Journalists Association (SDP), the new German regulations, which went into full effect at the beginning of this year, are among the most restrictive of their kind in the world and the strictest in the European Union.
Under the German regulations, social media companies may face steep fines of up to EUR 50 million if they fail to promptly delete hate speech and other “inappropriate content posted online,” according to the Polish association’s Press Freedom Monitoring Centre.
Moreover, it is up to German justice ministry officials to decide what is and what is not "hate speech," the centre has said in a statement, adding that “the response time to any inappropriate entries is very short.”
The regulations "may in practice become a hidden form of repressive censorship, especially if the governments of other countries adopted similar legal changes following in Germany’s footsteps,” according to the centre.
The new German rules apply to social media websites and internet forums that have more than 2 million registered users, the centre said in its statement.
It added that the German law, referred to as NetzDG for short (full name: Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, or the Network Enforcement Law) obliges social media companies to remove any posts and comments that contain hate speech or incite crime within 24 hours.
The Polish centre has appealed to international journalist organisations to “closely monitor the situation of journalists and current-affairs commentators as well as media outlets in Germany in terms of respect for the freedom of speech and freedom of expression," a principle that the SDP said is the foundation of any democratic system.
Source: PAP, niezalezna.pl