German opposition parties call to replace online hate speech law

Senior figures in the rival Free Democratic (FDP), Green and Left parties on Sunday demanded lawmakers replace Germany’s recently passed online hate speech law. The call comes after Twitter decided to delete allegedly offensive statements by far-right politicians and suspend the account of a German satirical magazine.

“The last few days have emphatically shown that private companies cannot correctly determine whether a questionable online statement is illegal, satirical or tasteless yet still democratically legitimate,” the FDP’s general secretary Nicola Beer (pictured above) told Germany weekly Die Welt am Sonntag.

Beer said Germany needed a law similar to the one the FDP proposed before Christmas that would give an “appropriately endowed authority” the right to enforce the rule of law online rather than give private companies the right to determine the illegality of flagged content.

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  • Art Deco

    Germany and the constituent German states need one set of co-ordinated statutes which do the following.

    1a. Define obscenity.

    1b. Delineate penalties for transporting obscene material into localities which have ordinances which proscribe trafficking in obscene material.

    2a. Define slander and libel

    2b. Delineate the circumstances wherein slander and libel constitute a tort.

    3. Delineate the range of activities which can be proscribed by local ordinances under the rubric of ‘vexatious nuisance’ or ‘disorderly conduct’ or defined as a tort in such ordinances.

    4. Delineate the range of activities which can be proscribed by local ordinances under the rubric of ‘harassment’ or defined as a tort in such ordinances.

    5. Delineate the circumstances under which an applicant has a right, enforceable in court, to a parade or rally permit issued by a local government, and to order maintenance by local police under such circumstances.

    6. Delineate the range of circumstances under which a person may be forcibly ejected from a meeting by private or public security personnel, with specification to be provided by local ordinances.

    7. Delineate the circumstances under which an individual may be issued a contempt citation by a judge, a panel of judges, a legislative body, or a committee thereof.

    8. Delineate the circumstances in which utterances by public employees are deemed to be infractions-on-the-job and properly subject to disciplinary measures.

    9. Delineate the circumstances in which utterances by students on school grounds are properly subject to disciplinary measures.

    That’s all the regulation of speech and publication any well-ordered society should have.

    • How about we make it simple, free speech for all.

      • Art Deco

        If you want laws contra disorderly conduct, harassment, and contempt of court repealed, you make your case.

  • Alain

    Free speech is simply beyond their capability of understanding, but then so is the concept of free enterprise. Western Europe cannot even think of anything other than socialism or really another form of communism. It pains me to admit that Canada now is in the same boat.

  • felis gracilis

    What the hell is an “appropriately endowed authority”? I thought in western countries that we had supposedly independent courts to interpret the law.