German Politician Blocked On Social Media Placed Under Criminal Investigation Under New Hate Speech Law

Coat_of_arms_of_Germany.svgFor free speech advocates, there was another chilling development last week in the expanding censorship of social media and the criminalization of speech in the West.  The government is investigating Beatrix von Storch (the deputy leader of far-right party AfD) for a tweet posted on New Year’s Eve in which she accused police of appeasing “barbaric, gang-raping Muslim hordes of men.”  The statement was barred on Twitter and Von Storch and others were barred on Twitter and Facebook. Once again, raising the free speech concerns is not an endorsement of such offensive posts. Rather, the Germans have taken their controversial speech regulations and have extended them to social media — forcing these companies to become active players in the censoring of political speech.  People may have no objection (and even relish) the crackdown on the AfD but the implications for speech is far greater than these individuals.

Under the new NetzDG, or the Network Enforcement Act, social media sites must delete offensive posts within  24 hours after receiving objections from users.  Twitter, Facebook, and other social media companies can be fined as much as €50 million ($60 million) if they fail to remove hate speech and fake news posts.  Given the active work of various groups and individuals to take offense at opposing views, the companies will be inundated with such objections as everyone seeks to silence those on the other side of issues like immigration or homosexuality or other issues.  Faced with crippling fines, the social media sites are already erring on the side of censorship which is precisely what the Germans wanted to guarantee with NetzDG.

I have been a long critic of Germany’s criminal speech laws, including its long criminalization of Nazi symbols.  While I am certainly sympathetic to the Germans in seeking to end the scourge of fascism, there has been little evidence that the German laws prohibiting certain symbols and phrases have achieved anything other than expanding government power over political speech. It has also created an insatiable appetite for censorship among German citizens.  I fail to see how arresting a man for a Hitler ringtone is achieving a meaningful level of deterrence, even if you ignore the free speech implications.

It is not confined to Germany.  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).

Immigration remains a deeply divisive issue in Germany.  Clearly many support this party in their hardline views of immigration.  However, the new law has now prompted not just Von Storch to be censored by many in her party.  In the meantime, her reference to Muslim immigrants as “barbaric” has prompted yet another criminal investigation. The Police in Cologne have accused von Storch of inciting hatred.

Germany has long been the leading nation in the West aggressively fighting against free speech.  Merkel’s disgraceful comments with regard to a German comedian recently reflects her dismissive attitude toward this defining right.  The German people have been raised in an environment that has long criminalized speech (starting with Nazi symbols and then expanding to other forms of “hate speech”).  In the past, this slippery slope toward widespread censorship was dismissed as a German problem.  Now however the Germans are threatening the entirety of the Internet and social media by threatening prohibitive fines unless companies like Facebook become agents of censorship.  The effort could well cripple the most important development of free speech in history of the world.  This one country could effectively destroy the open forum that has long existed on the Internet.  It would also achieve such governments like China and Iran have long sought — effective government control of speech on major websites.

In other words, it is not about von Storch. It is about speech.

37 thoughts on “German Politician Blocked On Social Media Placed Under Criminal Investigation Under New Hate Speech Law”

  1. Jonathan Turley, if you want to write about lack of freedom of speech, consider mainland China. The constitution of the PRC guarantees freedom of speech yet the Internet, at least, is highly censored. I have yet to see you write about this.

  2. Deutschland über alles!

    These laws are merely a tool to be utilized by their government whenever useful to attack a political dissident or an unpopular idea, or as a means of revenue generation. It will be enforced of course selectively or to attack leadership of unpopular organizations with the intent of scaring the support base into submission.

    If Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and YouTube simply blocked all traffic from Germany and declared it was unable to comply with the fines and censorship the voters in Germany would vent their anger against the government. It might be worth a temporary loss of revenue to effect legislative change.

  3. I think this will be good for the German people in the long run, because, once they have retaken their country from the globalists, they can apply the same standards of censorship to the left that the left now imposes on patriotic Germans. The worm will turn.

  4. Hitler, Hitler, uber alles,,,
    uber allies don don de don
    Deutschland, Deustchland uber alles

    Check you own allies. Or Alleys.

  5. Tytler’s Dictatorship

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the canidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

    ― Alexander Fraser Tytler
    _____________________

    Ben Franklin, 1789, we gave you “a republic, if you can keep it.”

    Franklin’s was a restricted-vote republic, distinctly not, and never intended to be, a one man, one vote democracy.
    ___________________________________________________

    Merriam Webster –

    Definition of REPUBLIC

    (1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote

  6. Speech should not be criminalized. Voicing one’s opinion is one of the most basic human rights and freedoms. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it. Your personal opinions should never be illegal.

    As for what she said, no, of course not every Muslim, or even a majority of Muslims, are rapists. I have known so many lovely Muslim families who were good, tolerant, and kind people. Very family-centric.

    That said, there is a cultural issue that Germans should have the right to discuss. The issue is when people immigrate from areas anathema to Western values, and then bring those attitudes to their host country. One does not suddenly become Westernized the moment one’s feet hit soil.

    The problem is that in extremist Islamic nations, women have few rights and certainly no respect as autonomous equals. A woman is required, in most cases, by law to show modesty in her dress, usually via a regional veil, and/or raincoat. This is so ingrained, that any woman who does not dress thus is a target for harassment. Sexual harassment is absolutely rife in Iran and many other places. Men follow women and make comments or worse. Anyone showing a bit of hair is harassed more. They feel it is is their prerogative. In addition, there is a distinct us and them mentality. Their Muslim women are supposed to be saints, while Westerners are whores.

    As I said, I have known many Muslims. The anecdotal phenomenon that I have observed is that immigrants from Muslim nations fall into two camps. On one side, there are those who absolutely adore Western culture. They think the opportunities are great. They make friends with opposite genders, other religions, even Jewish people. The women wear makeup, pretty clothes, and show their beautiful hair. Persian women really do have the best hair, and are renowned for their beauty. Most Persian mothers have a will of iron, and an iron grip on their families, too.

    On the other side, are those who firmly hold extremist views. They were raised in an environment where sexual harassment is quite common. They believe that Western women are whores. They think they can do whatever they want to Western women while they wait to get married to their chaste Muslim woman. Consent doesn’t matter. She’s asking for it, according to their upbringing. Take a man who hasn’t seen a woman out of a veil, and bring him to a public pool with women wearing bikinis, and he’s probably going to misbehave.

    Brainwashing is extremely hard to shake. You cannot take someone off the street, who spent his day following, grabbing at, and harassing women, take him to Germany, and expect him to behave himself. That’s setting him up for failure. I do not know the process of German immigration, if they have any sort of training on the laws that will be new to immigrants. But you cannot just drop off that many people and expect them to suddenly be Westernized Germans. If someone drops a gay man off a roof, for example, and comes to Germany, he’s not going to suddenly accept homosexuality or be safe around gay people.

    This may not be PC, but this is reality. And their needs to be open and honest discussion about it. Politicians should not deny what’s happening. This has been such a widespread problem that they have grass roots women security clubs starting up in Sweden and Germany to patrol pools to protect women against Muslim immigrant harassers.

    Sexual harassment discussions are out in the open. People are so “brave” to discuss white male harassment, why not Muslim immigrant harassment? When a young man joins relatives in the West who have lived here a while, they will scold and browbeat him into good behavior. What do you do when you have immigrants coming here with no support system already in place and assimilated? There is no one to screech at him about the way things are done in their new country. (Sweet God, don’t let a young man piss off his matriarch, at least if she’s Persian.)

    1. Now here’s a realistic, effective approach to the problem of immigrants not knowing or following the rules:

      https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/09/06/refugees-germany-pool-rules/89904638/

      “Kurzhals helps run “Bleib Cool am Pool” (Staying Cool at the Pool), a team of conflict mediators from immigrant backgrounds, who patrol the pool. This summer, the group helped refugees learn about German pool culture.” One organization is using Middle Eastern security guards to help keep immigrants in line at pools, where they have had significant problems with harassment and pool safety and hygiene.

      This can help immigrants who do not have relatives who have already assimilated and know their way around. They might want to expand this approach.

  7. Glenn Greenwald has many important points which he is making on this issue. Here is one: “Would Facebook ever dare censor American politicians or journalists who use social media to call for violence against America’s enemies? To ask the question is to answer it.”

    World oligarchs realized they could turn their own hate speech/actions and fake newzing to their advantage. It works two ways: 1. many people will believe in their violence (see Iran where many people claim to believe this govt. cares about human rights as we violate them with impunity here and abroad) and fake news, 2. people who don’t are now easily gotten rid of under the rubric of selective enforcement.

    This is going exactly as planned. It will only stop when enough people realize they either stand up for everyone’s free speech or all of us except the most powerful won’t have it at all.

  8. Jonathan Turley, ever visited Germany much? More than just tourism and especially in what is still called East Germany. You can find much the same in parts of Poland, Slovakia and the adjoining portions of Ukraine. I’m told Hungary as well.

    Until you resolve your own internal contradictions better stick to just the USA.

  9. The Germans got out of trouble after WW1 and same for 11. But now they have invited that taste of conflict once again by their invite of that much different culture. It is insane and I have no desire to visit there anymore-NEVER !

  10. Was it not Orwell’s “1984” in which there were government “editors” whose job it was to eliminate words from the vocabulary? Till Orwell’s book, now manifested by alleged “antifa” and “freedom loving” DNC members, the trend of language was the polar opposite: language tended to increase word count over time, commensurate with expanding knowledge, and hopefully, wisdom.

    Orwell was startlingly correct, if only a few decades premature.

    Don’t be surprised this happens in Germany. Around the time the US, England, and the League of Nations installed by threat of force the DNA descendants of Khazaria in the Middle East (AKA Israel), Germany, Canada, and IIRC seventeen other European nations criminalized certain thoughts such as disbelief in the Western-authored version of the alleged “Jewish holocaust.” Persons rot in prisons today for the very crime labeled “holocaust denial.” Note the exclusive word use of “holocaust” while other races have suffered greater numbers of deaths, such as in Soviet Russia and its satellites. Also, taxpayer support purposes such as Jewish holocaust museums but not for other races who suffered worse genocide.

    The justification for such laws is exactly and always the same: the safety and welfare of a particular people. Then and now it was the so-called “Jews,” in today’s subject it’s the Muslims.

  11. There seems to be huge resistance to admitting that such concepts as truth, hoax, hate speech are all subjective. Humans, throughout history have relied on the belief that those who held power were telling everyone else the truth. They weren’t. They were telling everyone else their perception of the truth or what they wanted others to believe. That includes politicians, priests, professors, and media publishers. The sooner people recognize that truth is nothing more than perception, the better off the human race will be.

    1. Chris, so why should believe YOUR truth? Under your thesis, the search for truth – even scientific truth – should be abandoned as a vain undertaking. I expect you, then, to cease attempting to communicate any ideas in which you (subjectively) believe. So long.

    2. Only a conflict in the minds of subjectivists whose start point is a mystical fairy tail other world anyway.
      To a practicing objectivist perception is a means of examination and examination leads to a determination of useful, not useful and perhaps useful later when other factors are included. An objectivist knows the examination using the senses and reasoning and thinking and perception are always turned on but are always filtered through the individuals morals, values, standards and ethics.

      Thus the three steps

      Recognize self as thinking reasoning being
      Apply same to items and events to determine the nature of the item or event and it’s usefulness
      Apply moral values and in doing so fine tune those values.

      One result of that is objectivists value creativity as one of the same driving forces of a thinking individual and includes it as one of the things to examine and discover the nature of same.

    3. TRUTH:

      The American Founders provided freedom not slavery in a restricted-vote republic.

      Freedom is not subject to arbitrary modification.

      People must adapt to freedom.

      Freedom does not adapt to people…

      dictatorship does.

      Every conceivable right and freedom is natural and God-given and existed before government was

      established.

      Government is limited solely to facilitating those rights and freedoms.

      General welfare means “all” “well” “get along.” Congress has only the power to tax for “general Welfare”

      (roads, currency, water, sewer, utilites, post office, airports, etc.), not any form of individual welfare.

      Central planning, redistribution of wealth and social engineering are all unconstitutional and violations of

      human rights.

      The entire welfare state is unconsittutional and a gross violation of human rights.

      Charity is an industry conducted in the free markets of the private sector.

  12. Once again, raising the free speech concerns is not an endorsement of such offensive posts.

    I’m certain these barbarous hordes will be heartened to know an American constitutional scholar finds a description of their gang-raping to be offensive.

    1. My logic meter moved off-center when I read Turley’s words you quote above. Thank you for a succinct counter to Turley’s apparent distaste for someone posting their disapproval of gang-rape.

      1. Same here Joseph. When I first read that my head reflexively tilted to the side trying to square JT’s passion for the free expression of ideas with his obvious disdain for the ideas themselves. I couldn’t tilt far enough.

  13. A shame how individuals in America can believe this is acceptable to shut down any speech they do not like or agree with. Hate speech can be enclosed in many forms but the most direct is the desire for a GOD government that demand worship for liberties(or lack of). Our constitution & bill of rights took the handing out of liberities from a government & placed it back to a basic human right

    1. Is it possible TPTB actually, consciously desire to promote, in the strongest possible way, outright blood shed and civil war? It appears that it’s possibly true. Either that or these hypocrites are so self-deluded and so self-righteous about their politics that they don’t realize that civil war is the sole apparent outcome if they maintain their current path.

      The Third Reich was so far “right,” and the modern DNC and it’s surrogates are so far “left,” that meet have met and shake hands!

      Yesterday NPR played a recording of ex-VP Heir Biden, talking about some recent DNC member being sworn in to office. Biden, in that horrible, pathetic B- actors voice, decried modern political “Tribalism,” obviously blaming Trump.

      Of course the reality is that the DNC itself sources more Tribalistic policies than the RNC has ever dreamt. It’s interesting that this DNC hypocrisy is also true relative to Russiagate. The DNC and HRC personally paid for the Trump dossier, which Russian operatives authored, which was used illegally to justify a FISA warrant to eaves drop on Trump Tower pre-election (Nixon must roll over in his grave for Soweto bin Bama’s felony domestic spying crime spree) . After HRC lost, she and the DNC realized they faced felony crime convictions, so they concocted the MSM meme blaming Trump for what they themselves had done, and the MSM ran with it, and has not let go.

      “Oh, the humanity!…..”

  14. Make the mistake of succumbing to notions of political correctness, allow entry to “barbaric, gang-raping Muslim hordes of men,” realize the terrible error and as the solution make public criticism of the error illegal. Nice.

  15. While I am certainly sympathetic to the Germans in seeking to end the scourge of fascism, there has been little evidence that the German laws prohibiting certain symbols and phrases have achieved anything other than expanding government power over political speech.

    Fascism: from Merriam-Webster: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

    It seems like the German government has a bit of Antifa influence in them.

  16. There are many in the US who would love to see European style hate speech laws implemented here. And they’re coming in another 15-20 years. Pretty soon people such as Professor Turley will be called a Nazi merely for opposing their adoption.

Leave a Reply