Newsflash
Italy to outmaneuver ECB with parallel currency Read more >>> We woke up another day and we found ourselves at war Read more >>> Heresies or Inexplicable Collective Behaviour Read more >>> Africa’s gate to Europe: Operation Husky, again Read more >>> China – a powder keg Read more >>>

Brussels fears free speech

gefira.org

photo: The Death of Socrates
photo The Death of Socrates

Replace freedom of speech with hate speech and you get rid of the former, basking on moral high ground of fighting the latter.

There was a time when people in the Eastern Bloc were forbidden to listen to Radio Free Europe, The Voice of America or any other western broadcaster on pain of, depending and country and period, severe or mild punishment. The mentioned radio stations were jammed most of the time, which was not the only countermeasure that was implemented: the government-controlled mass media would target selected news and in an attempt to spread “information literacy” raise the citizens’ awareness of the dangers of being exposed to hostile Western propaganda which, allegedly, went out of their way to create the impression of failed socialist states.

Recently the European Union Parliament has come up with a non-legislative resolution calling on the relevant institutions to combat as the proponents of the resolution say Kremlin-induced propaganda which through multilingual mass-media outlets like Russia Today and Sputnik or, as they put it, pseudo-news agencies like Russkiy Mir or Rossotrudnichestvo are trying to disrupt the cohesion of the Union and create the perception of failed states.1)Anna Elzbieta Fotyga, Report on EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties 2016/2030(INI) 2016-10-14.The same broadcasters are accused of backing extreme right-wing parties and presenting Moscow as the only guardian of true Christian values. The resolution proposes measures aiming at enhancing “information literacy” of European citizens and raising awareness of the dangers of being exposed to malicious and spiteful propaganda from the east. Special agencies, among them Strategic Communication Task Force2)EU EAST STRATCOM Task Force, November 2015. issuing two newsletters – The Disinformation Digest and The Disinformation Review – are called on to take action.3)Don’t Be Deceived, Question Ever More

What is going on? A union of the world’s most developed democracies bragging about its freedoms is showing visceral fear of a couple of mass-media outlets? The European Union, a self-styled harbinger and champion of all freedoms and progress imaginable, feels compelled to protect its citizens from news broadcast from abroad? What’s going on? European citizens who allegedly enjoy the best of human rights the world has ever seen are looking to Moscow for the truth they have little hope of getting at home? The British, the French, the Germans, the Italians have given up on their national oh so truthful news agencies and turned to supposed liars to such a degree and in such numbers that they must be stopped?

Radio Free Europe stopped broadcasting the moment central European mass-media aligned themselves with the former’s agenda. Strategic Communication Task Force will be busy so long as Russian media outlets do not align themselves with the European Union’s narrative, i.e. for all eternity. Of course, just as Central European socialist republics did not fight the freedom of expression (far be it from them!), so the European Union doesn’t either (God forbid!): in both cases the proponents of the countermeasures do their best to stamp out lie and protect their unsuspecting, impressionable, gullible i.e. intellectually defenceless citizens from mendacious broadcasters. They are well-meaning, they shield people from pseudo-news agencies or hate speech which has nothing whatsoever to do with curtailing the free word.

It’s all about hate speech, you know. When Geert Wilders of the Dutch Freedom Party asked his compatriots whether they wanted fewer Moroccans, he was accused of hate speech;4)Prosecutor demands fine for Geert Wilders’ hate speech, Politico 2016-11-17. when Renaud Camus called on averting the ethnic replacement, he was fined for hate speech;5)Renaud Camus condamné pour provocation à la haine contre les musulmans, l’express 2014-04-10. when Luc Roche6)Renaud Camus condamné pour provocation à la haine contre les musulmans, l’express 2014-04-10. or Christine Tasin7)Censorship, “Mental Illness” Overrun France, Gatestone Institute 2015-01-01. voiced their opinion of France’s Arab population, they were condemned for hate speech. In a word, European authorities punish people who say out loud what thousands think without daring to speak. Those thousands cannot even express their opinion in social media because these, too, surrendering to the pressure from the European governments or highly likely sharing these governments’ restrictive views on how the freedom of expression should be construed have also clamped down on the principle of the freedom of expression. Of course, not the freedom of expression but hate speech.8)Facebook and Twitter promise to crack down on internet hate speech, The Telegraph 2016-05-31.; Facebook, Google, Twitter agree to delete hate speech in 24 hours: Germany, Reuters 2015-12-15. )

What is the likely outcome of all this? The more the authorities will crack down on the exchange of information and opinion, the more the people will feel that truth is being suppressed and as a result of which they will look for alternative sources of information. Not only to Moscow. In former communist countries people learnt soon enough that their mass-media were mendacious; the same realisation is dawning on people in Western Europe, especially in Germany, where the term Lügenpresse has been in circulation for some time now. People will start networking through the internet, which in turn will most probably induce the authorities to meddle with it as well.9)Merkel With Obama: Internet ‘Disruptive’ Force that Has to Be ‘Contained, Managed, and Steered’ by Government, Breitbart 2016-11-17. Are we in for a control of all information circulation? The irony of this all is, the resolution was drafted by Anna Fotyga,((MEPs sound alarm on anti-EU propaganda from Russia and Islamist terrorist groups, European Parliament News 2016-11-23. a one-time Polish foreign minister, someone who should remember the effectiveness of such measures in her home country and, especially, the reason why citizens stop trusting their own media and begin to look for information elsewhere. Either history is a poor teacher or Anna Fotyga was a poor student.

References   [ + ]

1. Anna Elzbieta Fotyga, Report on EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties 2016/2030(INI) 2016-10-14.
2. EU EAST STRATCOM Task Force, November 2015.
3. Don’t Be Deceived, Question Ever More
4. Prosecutor demands fine for Geert Wilders’ hate speech, Politico 2016-11-17.
5, 6. Renaud Camus condamné pour provocation à la haine contre les musulmans, l’express 2014-04-10.
7. Censorship, “Mental Illness” Overrun France, Gatestone Institute 2015-01-01.
8. Facebook and Twitter promise to crack down on internet hate speech, The Telegraph 2016-05-31.; Facebook, Google, Twitter agree to delete hate speech in 24 hours: Germany, Reuters 2015-12-15. )

What is the likely outcome of all this? The more the authorities will crack down on the exchange of information and opinion, the more the people will feel that truth is being suppressed and as a result of which they will look for alternative sources of information. Not only to Moscow. In former communist countries people learnt soon enough that their mass-media were mendacious; the same realisation is dawning on people in Western Europe, especially in Germany, where the term Lügenpresse has been in circulation for some time now. People will start networking through the internet, which in turn will most probably induce the authorities to meddle with it as well.((Merkel With Obama: Internet ‘Disruptive’ Force that Has to Be ‘Contained, Managed, and Steered’ by Government, Breitbart 2016-11-17.

9. Merkel With Obama: Internet ‘Disruptive’ Force that Has to Be ‘Contained, Managed, and Steered’ by Government, Breitbart 2016-11-17. Are we in for a control of all information circulation? The irony of this all is, the resolution was drafted by Anna Fotyga,((MEPs sound alarm on anti-EU propaganda from Russia and Islamist terrorist groups, European Parliament News 2016-11-23.