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‘European Values’: Hold the Free Speech



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Some reminders (as if they were needed) that free speech is not amongst those “European values” that the EU is always so keen to proclaim. Well, not really anyway. 

From Big Brother Watch:

Yesterday the new European Union anti-terror chief appeared in front of MPs to discuss various issues, including what people are reading online.

As we’ve previously warned, the UK’s Anti-Extremism task force has already alluded to greater filtering of web content and now the EU has taken it one step further, with Gilles de Kerchove telling MPs he wanted to remove “not illegal, undesirable websites.”

Setting out the action being taken by the EU he said: “The Commissioner for Home Affairs will set up a forum to discuss with the big players – Google, Facebook, Twitter – how we can improve the way one removes from the internet the illegal and if not illegal, undesirable websites.”

Ah, corporatism.

Back to Big Brother Watch:

Freedom of speech, and of the press, are essential parts of a free and democratic society. It should not be in the gift of politicians to decide what we read or who can write it and absolutely not on the basis of what some may consider undesirable. If content is to be blocked, it should be a decision taken by a court of law and only when a clear criminal test has been met establishing the content is illegal.

The mind boggles at what a European official might consider undesirable….

Meanwhile, the EU’s “justice” commissioner, one Viviane Reding, a politician from Luxembourg, sends out instructions to the lowly member states of the European Union that those countries that have not already done so need to get on with criminalizing the “denial of crimes against humanity.”

Denying the Holocaust or, say, the mass-murders committed in the name of Communism, is asinine — no, much, much worse than asinine — but further criminalizing  such expressions of opinion, as unpleasant they certainly are, would be an additional step in what is already the wrong direction. It would not only be another assault on the ideal of free speech, it would also be a move towards the idea of a legally “authorized” view of history, an alarming prospect at any time, but particularly so in the context of the distinctly inventive approach that Europeans (and, for that matter, the Brussels apparat) have sometimes shown towards the uncomfortable realities of their contentious past.



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