Poland proposes social media “free speech” law.
On Friday, Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro announced the “freedom of speech protection” bill. The new law aims to stop social media platforms from deleting content or banning users who do not break Polish laws. Social networks would be fined up to 50 million PLN ($13.4 million) for failing to restore deleted posts or accounts.
The law would also establish a “freedom of speech council.” Members of the free speech council would be appointed for six-year terms by a three-fifths majority vote in parliament, in an attempt to safeguard pluralism, Mr. Ziobro said. They would be experts, not politicians. The council would order social networks such as Facebook or Twitter to restore deleted content or unblock a user’s account, Mr. Ziobro said.
Social media users in Poland who had been blocked or had content deleted would be able to complain directly to the platform, which would have to respond within 24 hours.
If a social media company refused to comply with an order, the council would be able to issue a fine of between 50,000 and 50 million PLN.
He said large internet corporations were increasingly limiting freedom of speech.
“Often, the victims of ideological censorship are also representatives of various groups operating in Poland, whose content is removed or blocked just because they express views and refer to values that are deemed unacceptable,” Mr. Ziobro said recently.
Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said that protecting freedom of speech on the internet is a priority for him and has warned against “political correctness.”
“Censorship is not and cannot be accepted,” he wrote on Facebook, which has suspended U.S. President Donald Trump’s account.
On Friday, the Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper quoted an anonymous government source who said Mr. Morawiecki was going to lobby the EU to regulate the issue, because domestic regulations would be more effective with EU-wide backing.
Recently, President Trump and many of his supporters have been banned on numerous social media. After some alternative media have been banned from Big Tech servers, the issue of ongoing censorship on social media against predominantly conservative voices has been thrown into the limelight. Many concerned individuals in the U.S. and Europe, and the rest of the world have expressed their deep concern. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Twitter’s banning of President Trump “problematic”. The President of Mexico has promised to lead an international coalition against Big Tech censorship, comparing it to the “Spanish Inquisition.” Many see President Trump “deplatforming” as only the tip of Big Tech’s ongoing censorship and information control iceberg. Many people have been asking themselves an obvious question: if they can do this to the United States’ acting President, what can they do to the rest of us?
It should be of no surprise that Poland is at the forefront of the active resistance to Big Tech’s clamp-down on free speech. It sure is of no surprise to a Swedish journalist, Peter Imanuelsen, who said:
“Want to know why Poland is taking steps to preserve free speech on social media? They have been occupied by both Nazism and Communism. They recognize tyranny when they see it. They don’t want it. Poland is smart.”