“Please spare us the thought police!” read a headline in Wednesday’s Bildzeitung.
As recently reported, the latest German censorship craze (exemplified by the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz or “Internet Enforcement Law”) is already being abused by those who would make us think what we are told. This type of thing never takes very long, of course. I read this in a book in high school once long, long ago in a galaxy far away. It was called 1984 or something. The book, I mean.
Anyway, this law… meant to curtail hate speech on social media in Germany is stifling free speech and making martyrs out of anti-immigrant politicians whose posts are deleted. The law which took effect on Jan. 1 can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60 million) on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly. Twitter has deleted anti-Muslim and anti-migrant posts by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and blocked a satirical account that parodied Islamophobia.
But the case I really like is this one here: A German thought criminal had the audacity to criticize Germany’s reticence to support the protests in Iran and write “one could get the impression that Germany has become an unbelievably cowardly nation” in Facebook. This horrid example of hate speech was enough to get the user promptly blocked.
The outrage about this outrage about the other outrage (I’m running out of outrages) among the German population also remains rather reticent, to say the least. But they are law-abiding citizens, after all. The Germans. They don’t want to commit any thought crime or anything.
Einer der beiden Fälle betrifft Irina Schlegel (33), die Chefredakteurin des Kreml-kritischen Recherchemagazins „InformNapalmDeutsch“. Sie schrieb am 1. Januar im Zusammenhang mit der deutschen Zurückhaltung zu den Protesten im Iran: „Man bekommt den Eindruck, Deutsche sind eine unglaublich feige Nation geworden“. Zwei Tage später löschte Facebook den Post und sperrte die Verfasserin für drei Tage.