From Elsewhere: Free speech in Europe under attack

I recently came across a really good article on the subject of the ongoing attacks on free speech in Europe. Recent EU legislation is cited by the author of the article, a social media user called Kremdog, as being behind the recent silencing and demonetisation of content creators on platforms such as You Tube, Facebook and Twitter. It’s certainly a major factor and there are many European governments and the EU bureaucracy itself, that wants to shut down speech that is critical of things such as the migrant crisis that has caused immense damage to various European nations.

Here’s part of Kremdog’s piece and I would strongly advise readers of this blog to click the link at the bottom of the excerpt to read the whole piece.

Kremdog said:

There is a contentious debate going on right now in the realm of politics: should free speech be allowed, and to what extent?  Businesses are struggling on how to handle this issue, with YouTube recently demonetizing thousands of videos after concerns arose in the media over ads from major corporations playing next to hateful content.  The response has hurt many content creators on the site, the vast majority of whom are not purveyors of content that would be considered “hateful” by any reasonable standard, including the video game commentator Boogie (whose YouTube income has been cut by 50%) and comedian Ethan Klein (who had Ad Sense earnings from four of his most popular videos “flatline” recently) .  But how are governments handling the re-emergence of an age-old debate?  One super-governmental organization, the European Union, began cracking down on free speech last year.  And as it turns out, that may have more than you would think to do with the recent changes implemented by YouTube.

In May of last year, the European Commission released the “Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online”, an agreement with social media outlets Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to censor certain forms of speech on these sites that met the European Union’s definition for hate speech.  I will link the full text of the agreement here so that you can read it for yourself.  Essentially, this agreement mandates that the social media outlets remove speech that meets the EU’s definition for being hateful, and if they don’t, they’ll face severe fines.

This EU action had not presented much of an issue to most YouTube content creators until recently.  What changed?  Was it simply that journalists were raising more concerns about “offensive content” on YouTube?  That may be part of it, but media outlets weren’t the only ones bringing YouTube into the spotlight.

Kremdog then went on to explain about new robotic censorship software that earns money for the holder of the software’s patent thereby encouraging the owner to campaign for yet more censorship and therefore more money earned by the software for the patent owner. It’s a worrying thing for the future of free speech when you have those who earn money out of shutting down others opinions.

Kremdog then added:

If you live in Europe, you may feel that these limitations on your ability to speak freely go too far.  But how do you push for less strict limitations going forward?

The EU piece of legislation that defines hate speech was based off of the laws of many EU member states which place similar restrictions on what speech is allowed and what isn’t.  Without these speech-restricting laws, the EU wouldn’t have been able to pass its legislation.  So, if you live in Europe and oppose this latest action by the EU, you may want to start by contacting your nation’s own elected representatives and telling them you oppose these restrictions on speech.  And if they don’t respond to this advice, then maybe next time you go to the polls you should vote for someone else (preferably a candidate who endorses limiting restrictions on free speech as much as possible).

This is an excellent article and the entirety of it can by found by clicking on the link below: