Merkel Backs Crackdown on Free Speech On Social Media Sites

Angela MerkelGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel long ago established herself as a menace to free speech, particularly in her decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace. Now, she is throwing her support behind a crackdown on “hate speech” on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — radically expanding the already broad scope of government regulation of speech.

Merkel declared “I support efforts by Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere to address hate speech, hate commentaries, devastating things that are incompatible with human dignity, and to do everything to prohibit it because it contradicts our values.”

“Incompatibility with human dignity”? That is a standard that virtually defies definition. It would leave the government in the position to determine who is insulting “human dignity.”

Merkel is also threatening social media companies to get rid of “fake news” or risk a government crackdown. Merkel appears to fear that social media bots could influence German elections after President Obama flagged the role of fake news in the Trump election. Merkel insisted that such postings must be dealt with by the companies or the government will step in.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).

Merkel is clearly “all in” on the crackdown on free speech. The question is whether the German people will or can reverse this trend against this defining right of fundamental civil liberties and human rights.

What do you think?

68 thoughts on “Merkel Backs Crackdown on Free Speech On Social Media Sites”

  1. Wait a minute. First story is a person on a airplane shouting he loves Trump and sticking to Hillary people.
    So he is a hate monger violated all the Anti hate laws in the US and should be kept off the plane.

    Second Story Merkel crack down on hate speech and she a no good freedom loving East German. Which is it? It seem to be the color of your glasses. I so damn sick of this steady diet of “Hate Speech” etc etc etc.
    Let try the old saying: Sticks and stones will break you bones but names will never hurt you.

  2. Remember, it was Merkel who pressured media to not report REAL NEWS, the rapes of hundreds of German women by Muslim immigrants last New Years Eve. The elitist media of course complied w/ the elitist Merkel. Just who the hell do these elitists think they’re kidding?

  3. Merkel is dancing back and forth between basic rights and the best interests of the society of the moment. Sometimes she misses middle ground as in caving to that tyrant Erdogan. Erdogan uses his office to squash dissent. In some countries the rich and megalomaniac who feel above the laws will simply squash free speech by using their billions to sue the pants off of those who speak the truth but tick off the tyrants. You have your tyrants of all flavors. Essentially it is the concept of free speech and the expression of free speech that don’t always coincide. You can speak the truth but get sued into submission or speak the truth and be jailed. In the end the victim is free speech. It typically starts with a warning to the press by the tyrant to be and then goes on from there. For truth to be proved slander, libel, or fact it must be expressed.

    When fortune favors imbeciles they quickly become unbearable.

  4. “Hate speech” is whatever Merkel wants it to be. If she wants a ton of muzzies in the country, then anybody who opposes a ton of muzzies will be speaking hatefully.

    Plus, has anybody ever asked what good is going to come from Muslims intermarrying with the descendants of Nazis??? I mean a generation or two down the road, these guys are going to fire up the Panzers and come after the world. Can you imagine the Waffen SS with a fanatic religious belief on top of everything else??

    Sheeeesh!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. Autumn, I’m not sure if Merkel is trying to win? Maybe polls are telling her people are fed up w/ her and her policies and she’s toast, so she’s preemptively looking for an excuse. If Hillary didn’t believe the fake polls she would have been doing what Merkel is doing.

    1. Merkel is absolutely addicted to power and will give it up over her stiff dead body. She has also proven herself beyond embarrassment as in her dealings with Greece.

      If she goes, it will be because she is rejected in a way she can not spin or make disappear.

    2. Nein ,Nick, Merkel moechte gewinnen. And the sad thing is that many of my friends in Deutschland still stand behind her. the very same people who in this country will line up for Obama/HRC no questions asked. Pathetic IMO.

    3. I’d guess if the EU breaks up, Germany’s dominance (creditor status) goes by the wayside. Maybe Greece will get to keep some of its goats after all.

        1. No television here, Nick, and I’m actually supposed to be working this afternoon. I saw where they beat Michigan and Illinois over the past two weeks.

  6. It’s not just Merkel, our lame duck prez was lamenting “fake news” on his last trip overseas. And, I would encourage folks to click onto the video Autumn links where Jimmy Dore rips CNN a new anal orifice.

    1. Actually Dore rips FAUX news a new one even BIGGER! I guess the right wing nuts are not smart enough to see that. He also castigates CNN for hiring Trump’s PAID spokesman as one of their correspondents. I loved his piece. The suggestion that they hire JOURNALISTS is a great suggestion. While I am not a big fan of Washington Post, they at least had ONE reporter who had the smarts to actually look at Trump’s FAKE and illegal foundation, while the AG of New York state did not even do his job! THAT is what real reporters do. Maddow actually does real journalism citing FACTS, and looking into the news reports. Then Dore points out how the NY Times simply aped the Bush propaganda machine to approve the Iraq disaster. I fully agree with that too. Of course, the Times also fired the reporter who did the reporting about the run-up to the war for not doing her job and just repackaging the Pentagon propaganda. Then we have Dore pointing out that the US practiced torture and tried to use euphemisms to hide the fact. Our Trump supporters cannot be against torture because Trump has said quite clearly he is FOR TORTURE. Only an idiot could be a fan of both Dore and Trump.

      1. Randyjet: Dore voted for Jill Stein. Of course, he’s not going to do paid advertisements for the Establishment parties.

        Apparently, Dore won you over. Who’d you say you voted for? Not one of those two party candidates because people of conscience can’t win an election, I hope. That’d be hypocrisy.

        1. My point is that only an idiot would use Dore to slam the left since he is obviously on the left and hates the right wingers. The FACT is that Clinton agreed to the most progressive platform the Democratic Party has had in a long time. Even Sanders not only voted for her but worked his tail off for her. Then I see that even Chomsky,who is pretty far to the left said that only a fool would not have voted for Clinton to prevent Trump from winning. If voting for Clinton is hypocrisy in your view, then I am VERY pleased to be in such fine company.

          1. Dore was for Bernie then after the DNC destroyed him went for Stein as most of us did. Thing many people can’t comprehend is that there two factions of the Left: the Liberals for HRC and the Progressives who were for Bernie then for Stein. But like many Progressives Jimmy is also very aware of why Trump won and understand why they voted for him.

          2. Randyjet: “My point is that only an idiot would use Dore to slam the left since he is obviously on the left and hates the right wingers.”

            Dore slams your so-called “left” ALL THE TIME. Your “left” is what used to be called moderate Republicans and continues on without change. Chomsky’s support of Clinton in swing states is no surprise. He’s always thought that was the best option. Like Sanders, he’s never been able to risk going beyond the status quo for all of his good intentions. But that doesn’t make the position tolerable in light of the continued blood and guts capitalism that goes along with it. Come to think if it, did you even vote in a swing state?

            1.2 million of us voted for change with Jill Stein and perhaps we’ll find even more voted for change after the recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania that Stein is requesting. You go ahead and be in your fine company of neoliberal smoke and mirrors. No thanks.

            1. Chomsky is getting old and having a hard time with the notion that others -not called Chomsky – may also have valid arguments.

              As has been discussed exhaustively on Counterpunch, he has been unwilling and unable to address the rightward drift (sometimes called the Overton window) created over the last thirty years by repeated instances of the lessor evil gambit in one or more of its various forms, but always where the left must swallow it’s demands since it has “no place else to go.” He simply ignores that problem and, worse, dismissively belittles anyone who suggests it’s time to stop supporting a pattern that has added up to an extreme rightward shift over time.

              It’s thin gruel indeed to listen to someone like randyjet claim that Clinton had agreed to anything what-so-ever from the left just because she nodded her head and made some very lawyerly responses (always left an easy out) when the few journalists who even bothered, asked her about her position after Sanders had trounced her in one event or another.

              It was perfectly clear to anyone with a brain that she would find the TPP and the TTIP (and the other toxic siblings) perfectly OK once she had rearranged that pesky semicolon that had bothered her before, for example. Ditto for pipelines to hell, privatization of SS and the other neoliberal goodies she was told by the Wall St. establishment to extract from a supine population already weakened enormously by 8 years of financial stress and continuation of Bush’s insane policies.

              1. Another thing Chomsky has ignored is that line in the sand some people will draw when a politician, or anyone for that matter, does something sufficiently horrific. Clinton’s support for the Iraq war directly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians including many thousands of children. To this day, she calls that a “mistake”; a little “opps” and that fact alone, never mind what she encouraged Obama to do in Libya and Syria, has made it impossible for some to tolerate the very idea of her in the White House. Again, Chomsky simply ignores that problem.

                  1. The left have become this eras Tail Gunner Joe McCarty. The circle of life..albeit dysfunctional life.

  7. “Hate speech” we wouldn’t allow that here, would we? Except for the Fox “talking heads”.

    1. Are you kidding me? Some of the nastiest hateful people are on the alleged left as well – Rachel Maddow and the contempt spewed from her is beyond appalling. Totally grotesque – ALL of the MSM. Like a David Lynch film on hyper steroids.

      1. If you think that what Rachel Maddow says qualifies as hate speech, then you are clueless as to what actually is hate speech. Spend sometime at World Net Daily, or listen to a few white supremacists for a short while, then maybe you’ll understand. If you are going to accuse Maddow of hate speech, then cite at least a few examples of actual hate speech spoken by her.

        1. You are talking about “hate speech” what I am talking about is the Orwellian “newz” offered by her and her ilk. Maddow is an examplar of an intellectual icon gone wrong. Do your own research and see how she demeaned Bernie Sanders and displayed utter contempt for those who were against the TPP. Then again, making 30K daily might turn around most folks!

  8. Mama Merkel is terrified that she will lose the next election having witnessed the results in the U.S.. She started out so strong, but Obama busted her chops early on with the cell phone spying and the final assault was Syria/Libya (thanks HRC!!). Germany is facing a total assault on its culture with all the influx of refugees/migrants. Most unfortunately the far Right is gaining in popularity in this vacuum. Ordinary people are caught in the middle — they don’t want more neo lib / neo con – witness the yuuge objection to the TTIP – yet they also don’t want the neo Nazis in control. Fortunately, there are multiple parties so hopefully they can find a decent balance.

  9. I agree, elites are nervous because they aren’t in control of the message as much as they’d like to be.

    At greenwald’s twitter you will see a discussion of the Washington Post designating certain sites to be Russian propaganda. These include many left wing sites. They have also asked the FBI and DOJ to investigate people and sites who do not agree with them.

    The “leadership” of the West is worried. They are bringing out their big guns (literally with water protectors) to make certain free speech is utterly destroyed.

    Wikileaks has just released the documentation of USGinc. arming Yemen and creating a terrible civil war there. Wikileaks of course must be discredited because they offer up documents from our own govt. and its would be leaders, something, US citizens should not be allowed to see!

    1. Good catch on the Post article, my God 200 sites are McCarthy style blacklisted. Naked Capitalism has the honor to be among them. Craig Timberg (author) = Craven.

      Pleased to note the initial wpost comments to the article, anyway, aren’t buying it – at all.

  10. Merkel has not forgotten her ties to the East German government. Sometimes our childhood habits die hard.

  11. In another 10 years, the expression of certain viewpoints will be held to not be protected by the First Amendment. The First Amendment will not be repealed, but there will be exceptions. And the Left, will tell us with a straight face all along that they support free speech. Mark your calendars, it is coming.

      1. No crystal ball necessary. There are serious academic types already arguing for such.

        Take your pick of anything written by Professor Alexander Tsesis from Loyola University School of Law. Deborah Rhode from Stanford isn’t too far behind.

        Antonio

  12. This is the inherent problem with Big Government. Once we decide that it’s Big Government’s job to intrude on every aspect on our lives, and to enforce an agreed upon pattern of thought, it runs amuck. Every time.

    This is the problem with Progressivism, compared with moderate Democrats. They want to force their opinions upon others and grow the power of government. Unfortunately, this has led to serious abuses in its history, such as Prohibition, Eugenics, and the excited exchange of ideas with Fascists and Nazis. Times and opinions change over the years, of course, and no movement is immune. But if Progressivism does not cast aside this emphasis on Big Government, and the dictatorial control of opinion through either government and/or the force of public opinion (such as the riots and rash of disowning/unfriending/ad hominem attacks), then it will continue to repeat these infamous mistakes. And how do they justify this dictatorial control? By ascribing evil tendencies to anyone who even remotely disagrees with them. The “other side” becomes Satan, and who doesn’t want to fight against evil? They even eat their own, such as when this weaponized ad hominem was turned on Richard Dreyfus for attending a Ted Cruz rally out of curiosity. He had to repeatedly claim his allegiance to Progressivism and condemn Cruz before they would release his figurative throat. Sadly, the constant ad hominem attacks do work, which is why we have people engaging in mass hysteria on the streets. One part of the country thinks they are going to die any second because of the evil non-Progressives, and the other part of the country thinks they’re all howling mad and want nothing to do with them or their politics.

    Far better is to value our Constitution, especially the First Amendment, and individual rights.

    1. I don’t think a government requires size as a criteria for being controlling (intruding in every aspect of it’s citizen’s lives), unless you are speaking of the military – which I doubt. If, by problem, you mean giant bureaucracy and the resultant red tape and corruption (like India) then what is largely driving the US to act like that is often all the cozy (and corrupt) relationships with private enterprise that results in give-aways, shady deals, and loony industry serving regulations that look like bloated government. The actual size of our government by comparison to our population, global influence, and military size is actually quite small and remarkably efficient.

  13. Speaking internet is that giveaway to foreign control a done deal, if not when, can Trump reverse it?

    I like free enterprise. Like GPS let them build their own system and go into open market competition.

  14. Make no mistake, “fake news” is simply news that comes from non MSM institutions. In case it’s not obvious to you, there is a revolution afoot. It is the people taking back their governments from elitists. A disturbing incident occurred in Colombia this week. President Santos had tried in October to sign a horrible peace accord w/ FARC rebels. It was aq total appeasement. The people voted against it. So, on Tuesday, President Santos made some superficial changes and is now bypassing a vote and sending the accord to Congress, which he controls. To date, this revolution against elitist establishment has been bloodless. But the sanctimony and resolve of elitists toward us commoners know no bounds. They are losing control and will not go down quietly. They CANNOT stop the flow of information unless they blowup the internet. And, that would be suicidal.

    1. Nick, re: “Make no mistake, “fake news” is simply news that comes from non MSM institutions” that’s what I read as well – to shut down sources who are not approved by the Establishment. I think they are freaking out because of all the Independents who get their news from a variety of sources including online places like my go-to folks: Jimmy Dore, Jordan Chariton, Tim Black, LTMB — and yes even Milo and Alex Jones.

      I think that the powerful have discovered through social media we were able to sample a variety of perspectives and arrive at what we best thought was the truth and that blew their whole plan of HRC’s easy election right out of the water.

      So, they will attempt to shut it down, but we will preserve. The genie is out of the bottle.

      1. I’m not sure how we will “preserve.” Once they give themselves authority to regulate so called hate speech, and fake news (any truths they don’t like), it’s over and I don;t see what we can do about it. The internet won’t go down, it will simply become establishment theater like our elections.

        As always, great links/videos!

          1. Small potatoes, I certainly got the gist of what you were saying. I’d love to agree with you, but I’m now concerned that the government can and will come out into the open with outright bans on free speech if they get sufficiently paranoid that their pied piper scam is being seen for what it is and people are using the internet to communicate that. What’s the point of giant international corporations paying the MSM to pump out propaganda if no one is going to be fooled by it. Make no mistake, they are furious the TTP and the TTIP are suddenly down the drain, poof, like that. It took them years of incredibly expensive secretive work to hood-wink everyone with a permanent end run around the judicial and legislative power of the nation state.

            I suspect this is just the beginning. We will see all sorts of “terrorist” acts that absolutely require the internet be shut down as a means of political free speech by anyone who is a true patriot. People can’t be allowed to loose their “trust” in government and the best way to do that is by force.

            Punishment will subside when moral improves…

            1. BB – I hope you are wrong. I still think there would be a major pushback – people discovered they had some power during this election season – I doubt they sit quietly by as their social media access was curtailed.

        1. Brooklin –

          “When democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote – with his rifle. Any grasping would-be tyrant who ignores that truth does so at his or her own peril.”

          – Mike Vanderboegh, attributed founder of the “III% Movement”, http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com.

          THIS is what we can do about it, and how to ‘preserve’. I suggest you make a note of this for future reference.

  15. We might add to that weazel wording for hack attorneys trolling for clients.

    For Example

    This from a former member of a Bush’s Ethics Council.

    “Former Bush ethics lawyer: Electoral college can’t vote for Trump if he’s violating the Emoluments Clause

    “He needs to comply with the constitution at a bare minimum,” Painter said. “And either recognize the problem and address it.”

    “And if he doesn’t do that before the Electoral College meets,” the attorney continued. “I don’t think the electoral college can vote for someone to become president if he’s going to be in violation of the constitution on day one and hasn’t assured us he’s not in violation.”

    Notice he starts out with a blunt statement tellthe Electors what the CANNOT do.

    Then he dictates what Trump “Needs” to do.

    “Then he; finsihes with “I don’t think….IF he’s going to be in violation….and hasn’t assured us….he’s not…”

    Never does cite his source

    Problem is contained in his one phrase “I don’t think..”

    Now if he had said, “I know.” Then foillowed it with something more than subjective wishful fairy tail. Something more ‘objective.’

    But as for hate speech it was invented by the left to describe the left

    And that includes RINO Republicans all the way to Secular Progressives with damn few exceptions.

    CItizens Over Government!!!

    1. Following my own standards I researched a bit and found three references to this guys name as Painter then finally Richard Painter and the source CNN. From that you can draw your own conclusion.

      I rate it as a diversion from CNN’s own problems which can be stated as viability and credibility.

  16. One would have thought that her experiences in East Germany would lead her to oppose interfering with free speach. It will be interesting to see what she defines as “hate” speach.

    1. “Hate speech” is apparently anything that opposes the official view. How can one be powerful if every official assertion is countered with an opposing view?

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