Germany: Full Censorship Now Official Courts Rewrite History
Sunday, October 22, 2017
A new German law introducing state censorship on social media platforms came into effect
on October 1, 2017. The new law requires social media platforms, such
as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to censor their users on behalf of
the German state. Social media companies are obliged
to delete or block any online "criminal offenses" such as libel,
slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user
complaint -- regardless of whether or the content is accurate or not.
Social media companies receive seven days for more complicated cases.
they fail to do so, the German government can fine them up to 50
million euros for failing to comply with the law.
This state censorship makes free speech subject to the arbitrary
decisions of corporate entities that are likely to censor more than
absolutely necessary, rather than risk a crushing fine. When employees
of social media companies are appointed as the state's private thought
police and given the power to shape the form of current political and
cultural discourse by deciding who shall be allowed to speak and what to
say, and who shall be shut down, free speech becomes nothing more than a
fairy tale. Or is that perhaps the point?
Meanwhile, the district court in Munich recently sentenced
a German journalist, Michael Stürzenberger, to six months in jail for
posting on his Facebook page a historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a senior Nazi official in Berlin in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of
"inciting hatred towards Islam" and "denigrating Islam" by publishing
the photograph. The court found Stürzenberger guilty of "disseminating
the propaganda of anti-constitutional organizations". While the mutual
admiration that once existed between al-Husseini and German Nazis is an
undisputed historical fact, now evidently history is being rewritten by
German courts. Stürzenberger has appealed the verdict.