Polish Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro announced the ‘Act for the Freedom to Express One’s Views and Obtain and Disseminate Information on the Internet’ which will also be backed up by a new court. The new law gives citizens the right to appeal bans and content removals on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Social media users can then appeal to the new Court for the Protection of Freedom of Speech. The process is even being made extrmely easy with a totally online process to file complaints about censorship.
If the new court rules that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube or other censors have removed accounts or deleted posts for speech which is legal under Polish law, they must be restored. The social media platforms will face fines up to $2.2 million (1.8 million Euros), enforced by the nation’s Office of Electronic Communications, according to reports.
In explaining the new policy on censorship, Ziorbro stated, “In Germany, the Minister of Justice may arbitrarily decide what content needs to be eliminated from the Internet. This is the introduction of censorship. We want to balance the freedom of public debate.”
“We want to regulate the relationship between social media users and their owners… It is primarily about censorship when expressing opinions that are consistent with Polish law”, added deputy minister Sebastian Kaleta.
Poland, which has emerged as one of the most democratic European nations, has drawn a line in the sand saying it is constitutional duty to protect online speech: “The Constitution… guarantees full freedom of expression… Therefore, any manifestations of limiting it must meet with the reaction of the state to enable protection against interference with this freedom,” Kaleta insisted.
“The Left tries to define any fundamental criticism of its views or ideology as ‘hate speech’, and then expects such content to be censored or even punished… the left is trying to consistently implement its anti-democratic aspirations,” he added.
“This law is a response to what they are trying to impose on us as legal norms, that is, forcing us to censor with political correctness and refrain from expressing one’s opinion.”
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice