From the Financial Timesearlier this week:
German media were too uncritical in their coverage of the 2015 refugee crisis, giving Angela Merkels open-door policy a free pass and failing to represent the legitimate concerns of ordinary people alarmed by the influx, a new study has found.The report, commissioned by the Otto Brenner Stiftung in Frankfurt, said the coverage was so one-sided that it ended up deepening the ideological rift in Germany between liberals on the one hand and nationalists and conservatives on the other.
Up until late autumn 2015 hardly any editorials dealt with the concerns, fears and also resistance of a growing part of the population, the report said. When they did, they adopted a didactic or in the case of east Germany [where anti-immigrant sentiment is strongest], a contemptuous tone.
The study, led by Michael Haller, a former senior editor at weekly newspaper Die Zeit, is the most comprehensive analysis of how the German media dealt with the migrant crisis
Newspapers were filled with articles about the new Willkommenskultur or welcome culture, epitomised by the crowds who gathered in Munich station in September 2015 to greet refugees arriving from Hungary and hand out sweets and toys.
The report said Willkommenskultur became a kind of magic word used by certain sections of the media to turn ordinary people into good Samaritans and encourage them to carry out acts of kindness towards newcomers.
And yet even this was not enough for Merkel, an authoritarian curiously now widely praised as a defender of liberal (in the accurate sense of that word) values.
Heres CNBC from September, 2015:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was overheard confronting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over incendiary posts on the social network, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, amid complaints from her government about anti-immigrant posts in the midst of Europes refugee crisis. On the sidelines of a United Nations luncheon on Saturday, Merkel was caught on a hot mic pressing Zuckerberg about social media posts about the wave of Syrian refugees entering Germany, the publication reported.The Facebook CEO was overheard responding that we need to do some work on curtailing anti-immigrant posts about the refugee crisis. Are you working on this? Merkel asked in English, to which Zuckerberg replied in the affirmative before the transmission was disrupted.
Could it have been that some people at least were turning to Facebook to express their views because there was nowhere else where they could get a hearing?
In the course of a post that September on the topic of the German governments attitude to (yes, sometimes ugly) dissent, I noted this from a Breitbart report:
An organisation run by a former Stasi agent has been recruited by the German government to patrol Facebook in a bid to stamp out xenophobic comments. Those caught posting material that the government disagrees with are likely to face criminal prosecution.Germany is set to welcome one million new immigrants this year, a move that has not been without controversy. Determined to see his fellow Germans embrace their new multicultural homeland, Justice Minister Heiko Maas has decided to crack down on those citizens who criticise the influx, especially those who take to their own private Facebook accounts to do so.Maas has recruited the help of an organisation Network Against Nazis (Netz Gegen Nazis, or NAN) to aid him in his crackdown. NAN was founded by, and according to its website works in partnership with, the Amaedu Antonio Foundation, run by Anetta Kahane, who between 1974 and 1982 worked for the Stasi under the code name Victoria [According to Wikipedia she was an "Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter", an "unofficial collaborator" with the Stasi, no agent, but still...].
Fast forward to the end of last month.
Social media companies in Germany that dont do enough to prevent the spread of hate speech and fake news could face fines, the countrys parliament ruled Friday.
What could go wrong?
Networks that do not remove content that is obviously illegal within 24 hours, or one week in less clear-cut cases, face fines beginning at 5 million ($5.7 million) and rising to 50 million ($57 million) depending on the severity of the offense concerned.Facebook immediately slammed the decision in a statement. The company said it shared the aspiration to fight hate speech in a statement to the BBC, but: We believe the best solutions will be found when government, civil society and industry work together and that this law as it stands now will not improve efforts to tackle this important societal problem.
The new law has even gone too far for the UN
But the U.N. has criticized the bill. Many of the violations covered by the bill are highly dependent on context, context which platforms are in no position to assess, the U.N. Special Rapporteur to the High Commissioner for Human Rights David Kaye wrote of the law in the run up to its passage.
At the beginning of 2016 (as I noted in a post here), Angela Merkel was awarded the Roosevelt Foundations Four Freedoms Award for, amongst other achievements, her moral leadership of Germany and Europe during the refugee crisis.
The Roosevelt Foundation in Middelburg, the Netherlands, and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York present the annual Four Freedoms Award which is named after the four freedoms President Franklin D. Roosevelt named in a speech in 1941 and which all people should enjoy. They are freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
Top of the list: Freedom of speech.
- The Right Constitutional Philosophy for This Moment - The Atlantic - March 31st, 2020
- Lebanese Activists Fear Hezbollah-led Government Is Using Coronavirus to Solidify Power - VOA News - March 31st, 2020
- Improving decision-making in the face of growing misinformation - Ecofin Agency: Economic information from Africa - March 31st, 2020
- Ming Pao row: If we learn anything from the virus outbreak, it should be the importance of free speech - Hong Kong Free Press - March 31st, 2020
- Freedom of speech 'is the property of the left of politics' - Sky News Australia - March 31st, 2020
- No one is safe from the puritanical poison of wokeness says SIR JOHN HAYES - Express - March 31st, 2020
- ASG introduces three resolutions, votes on advocacy committee - The Daily Northwestern - March 5th, 2020
- Why Toby Young and other robust white men are using free speech to whip universities - The Guardian - March 5th, 2020
- A Slap in the Face: Chinese Readers Share Their Coronavirus Stories - The New York Times - March 5th, 2020
- Opposition to Ted Nugent - Villages-News - March 5th, 2020
- Bitcoin Is the Technology of Dissent That Secures Individual Liberties - Bitcoin Magazine - March 5th, 2020
- NRB Resolves that Religious Liberty & Freedom of Speech Must Prevail - MissionsBox - March 5th, 2020
- The Guardian is not a fan of Toby Young or free speech - The Post Millennial - March 5th, 2020
- No platforming nowhere near as productive as debate or conversation - The Badger Herald - March 5th, 2020
- When The PC Police Come For Our Books - The Jewish Press - JewishPress.com - March 5th, 2020
- Following the crowd - Education - WORLD News Group - March 5th, 2020
- How progressives and conservatives have changed the debate over freedom of speech - Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) - February 27th, 2020
- What transgenderism and Islam have in common: Destroying free speech - Lifesite - February 27th, 2020
- Hitler would be very proud of the Aalst Carnival in Belgium! - The Times of Israel - February 27th, 2020
- Facebook and Zuckerberg keep getting freedom of expression wrong - The Next Web - January 21st, 2020
- Sheffield Arena urged to cancel event by 'homophobic' Trump ally - The Guardian - January 21st, 2020
- Ninth Circuit Affirms Anti-Libel Injunction, Rejects Overbroad Portion - Reason - January 21st, 2020
- What we still havent learned from Gamergate - Vox.com - January 21st, 2020
- Montclair State Univ. Sued for 'Unconstitutional' Speech Policy and Favoring One Student Group Over Another Based on Their Beliefs - CBN News - January 21st, 2020
- POV: Trump's Executive Order Aimed at Protecting Jews Will Have a Chilling Effect on Freedom of Speech at Colleges - BU Today - December 21st, 2019
- 92% of Americans think their basic rights are being threatened, new poll shows - USA TODAY - December 21st, 2019
- Trump's Executive Order Targets Federal Funding to Universities in Suppression of Speech on Palestinian Rights - International Middle East Media... - December 21st, 2019
- Washington State's Mike Leach responds to Donald Trump impeachment: 'I'm yet to hear what he did wrong' - Sports and Weather Right Now - December 21st, 2019
- Impeachment won't slow the global rise of the radical right but an alternative vision might - Salon - December 21st, 2019
- Over Regulating Intermediaries: Threat To Free Speech? - Inc42 Media - December 15th, 2019
- Charter of Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom to be adopted - News - The University of Sydney - December 15th, 2019
- Is YouTube Cracking Down on Free Speech With New 'Harassment Policy'? - NewsBusters - December 15th, 2019
- Johnson orders universities to protect freedom of speech - Stock Daily Dish - December 15th, 2019
- Freedom of speech must trump safe spaces in universities, minister says - Stock Daily Dish - December 15th, 2019
- Alberta premier says energy war room will be respectful as it takes on critics - CFJC Today Kamloops - December 15th, 2019
- Amnesty International Canada Questions Freedom of Speech and Assembly - Reason - December 13th, 2019
- Why we need to stop believing freedom of speech is a dangerous thing - Marie Claire UK - December 13th, 2019
- Drawing the Line: When Does Freedom of Speech Go Too Far? - SUNY The New Paltz Oracle - December 13th, 2019
- RTI is Inbuilt within Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, says Bombay HC - Moneylife - December 13th, 2019
- Opinion: The clear line between hate speech and free speech - DW (English) - November 26th, 2019
- Appleton school board signs off on policy that some say endangers free speech, others see as a constitutional safeguard - Post-Crescent - November 26th, 2019
- What to Be Thankful For | Cato @ Liberty - Cato Institute - November 26th, 2019
- Universities Enabling the Hijacking of Free Speech When Jews are Involved - The Times of Israel - November 26th, 2019
- Documentary Takes Aim At Higher Eds Free Speech Violations - Washington Free Beacon - November 26th, 2019
- Should the First Amendment protect language deemed to be hate speech? - The Vector: NJIT's Student Newspaper - November 26th, 2019
- Fight to protect your freedom of speech - The Saint - November 26th, 2019
- Improv joke reaction: What about free speech? - Mount Airy News - November 26th, 2019
- Trump defends Yovanovitch attack: 'I have freedom of speech' | TheHill - The Hill - November 17th, 2019
- 'Critical Infrastructure' Bill Is a Major Threat to Freedom of Speech - Shepherd Express - November 17th, 2019
- Free speech rights a concern in Wisconsin water resolution - Minneapolis Star Tribune - November 17th, 2019
- Freedom of speech and freedom from lies - Opinion - Cape Cod Times - November 17th, 2019
- Trump: 'I Have Freedom of Speech Just as Other People Do' - MRCTV - November 17th, 2019
- Freedom of speech and its consequences - BCLocalNews - November 17th, 2019
- Free speech in Canada: It was bad five years ago. Do you think it's gotten better since? - National Post - November 17th, 2019
- The American Internet Sucks. The Alternative Is China. - BuzzFeed News - November 17th, 2019
- On free speech, a new era and that blocking thing | Editorial - Chico Enterprise-Record - October 27th, 2019
- Sydney University to consider updating Freedom of Speech Charter - News - The University of Sydney - October 27th, 2019
- SABAG: Promoting Anti-Semitism By Perverting The Freedom Of Speech - The Daily Wire - October 24th, 2019
- Analysis: The Long Arm Of China And Free Speech - NPR - October 11th, 2019
- There are differences between free speech, hate speech and academic freedom and they matter - The Conversation AU - October 11th, 2019
- The Coalition: Where protesting free speech is only a right for the Right - Independent Australia - October 11th, 2019
- Free Speech Moment for Facebook! Platform Allows Trump Ad That CNN Banned - NewsBusters - October 11th, 2019
- Is Free Speech an Absolute Right, or Does Context Matter? - New York Times - August 25th, 2017
- UC Berkeley tries to reclaim its free speech legacy - The Mercury News - August 25th, 2017
- Unlikely Allies Join Fight To Protect Free Speech On The Internet - NPR - August 25th, 2017
- 73% Say Freedom of Speech Worth Dying For - Rasmussen Reports - August 25th, 2017
- Poll: 85 Percent Say Freedom of Speech More Important Than Not ... - Breitbart News - August 25th, 2017
- When 'free speech' becomes a political weapon - Washington Post - August 22nd, 2017
- Alt-Right 'America First' Rallies Move Online After Boston 'Free Speech' Protest Is Overrun - Newsweek - August 22nd, 2017
- A free-speech rally, minus the free speech - The Boston Globe - August 22nd, 2017
- Freedom of speech is for all - The Register-Guard - August 22nd, 2017
- The Fight Over Free Speech Online - The New Yorker - August 22nd, 2017
- Free Speech: The Left Moves In for the Kill - PJ Media - August 22nd, 2017
- Why Even Nazis Deserve Free Speech - POLITICO Magazine - August 20th, 2017
- So, just how guaranteed is your freedom of speech online? - New York Post - August 20th, 2017
- Our View: With freedom of speech comes great responsibility - HollandSentinel.com - August 20th, 2017
- Is hate speech protected by American law? Quartz - Quartz - August 20th, 2017
- Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression - EFF - August 18th, 2017
- Free Speech and Assembly in Hong Kong - New York Times - August 16th, 2017
- Free speech comes at a price - Spectrum News - August 16th, 2017