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 2017: Jan-March

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  But western lifestyles are said to provoke terrorists...

The European parliament adopts EU Directive requiring most member states to remove or block material deemed to provoke terrorism


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Link Here 17th February 2017
European Parliament logoThe European Parliament has officially adopted the EU Directive on Combatting Terrorism , which is designed to give police and prosecutors across the EU the ability to fight and counter terrorism more effectively and ensure a common response to the evolving terrorist threat.

The Directive includes measures against public provocation online , which state that Member States must ensure the prompt removal of online content constituting a public provocation to commit a terrorist offence that is hosted in their territory, and must also endeavour to obtain the removal of such content hosted outside of their territory. If removing the content is not feasible, Member States may block access to the content for internet users within their territory (but only after first attempting to remove the content at source).

The Directive states that such measures of removal and blocking must be set by transparent procedures and provide adequate safeguards, in particular to ensure that the restriction is limited to what is necessary and proportionate, and that users are informed of the reason for the restriction. These safeguards must also include the possibility of judicial redress.

Importantly, the Directive also states that removal or blocking of terrorist content should be without prejudice to service providers' protections under the EU e-Commerce Directive. This means that no general obligation can be imposed on service providers to monitor the information which they transmit or store, nor can they be obliged to actively seek facts or circumstances indicating the presence of terrorist content. Furthermore, hosting service providers will not be held liable for hosting terrorist content as long as they do not have actual knowledge of illegal activity or information and are not aware of the facts or circumstances from which the activity or information is apparent. This will be of great relief to Internet intermediaries.

The Directive must now be transposed into national law by Member States within 18 months. However, it will not apply to the UK, Ireland and Denmark who have opted out of such measures.

 

  Virtually no borders...

The EU takes a rare break from generating crap laws and firms up on proposals to require video streaming services to be available to all of the EU


Link Here 8th February 2017
european commission logoThe European Union agreed Tuesday on new rules allowing subscribers of online services in one E.U. country access to them while traveling in another.

The new portability ruling is the first step of regulation under a drive by the European Commission to introduce a single digital market in Europe.

Announced in May 2015, the proposed Digital Single Market was met with full-throated opposition from Hollywood and Europe's movie and TV industry, which viewed it as a threat to its territory-by-territory licensing of movies and TV shows.

The European Commission, the European Parliament and the E.U.'s Council of Ministers all agreed to new laws which will allow consumers to fully use their online subscriptions to films, sports events, e-books, video games or music services when traveling within the E.U.

The online service providers will have nine months to adapt to the new rules, which means will come into force by the beginning of 2018.

 

 Update: Poetic Justice...

Germany set to end lese majeste law that allowed Erdogan to get his German critics prosecuted


Link Here 26th January 2017
Germany flagGermany has decided to abolish a law which censors criticism of foreign leaders.

After the spectacular attempt at censorship by Turkey's president Erdogan, international heads of state will no longer be able to ask the German government to prosecute people deemed to have offended them under an obscure passage of German law.

Comic Jan Boehmermann sparked a diplomatic row between Ankara and Berlin when his insulting and satircal poem aired on German television last March. It described Erdogan as stupid, cowardly and uptight before descending into sexual references and language later described by judges in Hamburg as abusive and libellous content . The outraged Turkish leader filed a complaint with German prosecutors on the basis of lese majeste.

German ministers have now agreed to scrap a line of the penal code known as lese majeste , which prohibits insulting the representatives of international governments. Justice Minister Heiko Maas called the law outdated and unnecessary .

The idea of lese majesty arose in an era long gone by. It no longer belongs in our criminal law.

The Bundestag lower house still has to confirm the law change.

Insulted foreign leaders can still pursue their own libel and defamation cases, in the same way as anyone else.

 

 Update: Presumably the jihadi problem has now been solved...

French government announces that it has taken action against 2700 websites in 2016


Link Here 25th January 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in France...Web blocking in the name of child protection
france logoFrench authorities ordered the blockage or removal of more than 2,700 websites in 2016, Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux announced. He said that his government has requested blocks for 834 websites and that 1,929 more be pulled from search engines' results as part of the fight against child pornographic and terrorist content. He said:

To face an extremely serious terror threat, we've given ourselves unprecedented means to reinforce the efficacy of our actions.

Perhaps to obscure censorship details, Le Roux unhelpfully didn't detail any stats on what type of websites were blocked.

French authorities can block sites without a judge's order under a 2011 law that was brought into effect in after jihadist attacks killed 17 people at a satirical magazine and a kosher supermarket.

 

 Update: Love at 16...

France's Culture Minister seeks to change film censorship rules so that the 18 rating is reserved for out and out pornography


Link Here 20th January 2017  full story: Film Censorship in France...French age ratings are generally lower than most
Love DVD Young people in France will soon be allowed to watch real sex scenes at the cinema, as the government relaxes its film classification laws.

Culture minister Audrey Azoulay is set to announce that under-18s will no longer be automatically blocked from seeing a film that contains non-simulated sex. The 18 certificate will now only be automatically applied to films that include sex or violence that could seriously hurt the sensitivity of minors , the ministry of culture said.

It's believed Ms Azoulay will bring in the change, which overturns a decree from 2003, by early February before she leaves office.

France's cinema classification board was last summer forced to slap an over 18 rating on the 2015 film Love after a lawsuit from a far-right group, which complained about its 3D-animated non-simulated sex scenes in Gaspar Noe's Love .

Presumably films such as Love and Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac will now be 16 rated. The French 18 rating has, before this hiccup been reserved for hardcore pornography.

 

 Update: Defence Centre against Misinformation...

German government plans revealed to set up a propaganda and internet censorship office


Link Here 9th January 2017
government germany press office logoFor weeks, the German and international public sphere has been bombarded with a campaign against so-called fake news. Now Der Spiegel is reporting that the government now wants to establish a Defence Centre against Misinformation , a type of censorship and propaganda agency.

The Defence Centre will be set up in the Federal Press Office under Steffen Seibert. The new centre is supposed to strengthen the political power of defence of the population and force social networks such as Facebook, Google and Twitter to censor content posted by users.

The acceptance of a post-factual age would amount to political capitulation, an internal paper quoted by Der Spiegel said. The paper insisted that authentic political communication remains crucial for the 21 century as well. Accordingly, wide-reaching measures would have to be formulated to deal with the disinformation campaign, fake news and the manipulation of public opinion.

The World Socialist Web Site notes:

In reality the plans for an Orwellian Truth Ministry have nothing to do with concerns about false news reports. Instead, the established parties, the state media and private media corporations fear that they are losing their monopoly on public opinion. The Internet has provided millions of people with the possibility, for the first time, of obtaining access to information that has not been selected and filtered by the official media. This has been behind the fear in the media and political parties.

The ruling class is reacting to growing social tensions and political discontent in the same way it has in the past: with police, prosecution and the suppression of free speech.

Maybe German politicians are just panicking about the unpopularity of their free-for-all immigration and refugee policy.

 

  Political agitation...

Finnish MP fined for voicing popular sentiments about terrorists


Link Here 6th January 2017
Finland flagA Finnish MP has been fined for a Facebook post calling for a muslim-free Finland. Teuvo Hakkarainen from the nationalist Finns party was fined 1,160 euro for 'agitation against an ethnic group'.

Hakkarainen, whose party is part of the country's coalition government, made the call in a comment on the terrorist truck attack in France last July that killed 86 people. He said in the post:

All Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims.

The Finns party said it would next month discuss possible political sanctions for him.

 

 Update: No struggle with the sales figures...

Mein Kampf, German edition sells well after years of being banned


Link Here 4th January 2017  full story: Mein Kampf...Censorship issues with Hitler's book
Mein Kampf: Zwei Bande in einem Band Ungekurzte Ausgabe The German publisher of a special annotated edition of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf says sales have soared since its launch a year ago.

About 85,000 German-language copies have been sold. Publisher Andreas Wirsching said the figures overwhelmed us .  At the end of January the publisher will launch a sixth print run.

Unlike the Nazi-era editions, this edition of  Mein Kampf (My Struggle) has a plain white cover - without a picture of Hitler, and includes copious notes by scholars.

The BBC adds the 'balance' that 85,00 copies does not make the book a runaway hit . The BBC's Damien McGuinness in Berlin writes:

The fact that the Nazi manifesto reached number one in Der Spiegel's non-fiction charts in April is cited as evidence that Adolf Hitler's propaganda is making a comeback in Germany.

For a German non-fiction book sales of 85,000 are not bad. But the figures don't indicate a runaway hit. The current biggest non-fiction seller is The Hidden Life of Trees, a book about the ecosystem of woodland, which has sold half a million copies so far.

 

  Unconvincing fake justification...

The Czech Republic launches a news censor targetting fake news and Russian propaganda that may effect upcoming elections


Link Here 1st January 2017
Czech Republic flagA Czech unit set up to censor 'fake news' ahead of the country's two elections starts operations on Sunday.

The Center Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats, a department of the Interior Ministry, plans to rebut disinformation supposedly produced to manipulate elections by what the counter-intelligence community believes are Russian-backed websites.

President Milos Zeman likened the ministry's efforts to censorship in his annual Christmas speech.

However the Interior Ministry says that the news censor has neither a button to turn off the internet nor the right to remove content.