Berlin,Germany. The Merkel administration officially unveiled a social-media bill Wednesday that could quickly turn this nation into a chilling example of state censorship in an effort to combat the spread of so-called fake news and hate speech as defined by her government, in the West.
The highly anticipated draft bill is also severe in its punishments, with critics denouncing it as a curb on free speech. If passed, as now appears likely, the measure would compel large outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to rapidly remove fake news that incites hate, as well as other “criminal” content as decided by Merkel administration “officials” or face fines as high as $53 Million Dollars.
Recently, some fake news reports have emerged in Germany. One falsely alleged that a German girl of Russian descent was raped last year by asylum seekers. Repeated by high-level Russian officials, the reports seemed aimed at Merkel’s open-door policy for refugees. Experts though see it as over reaction to a problem of free speech, with a chilling political curtain of censorship.
The German leader Merkel is now involved in a strenuous campaign for a fourth term in office. She has often contended that her critics are “Kremlin agents” or paid Russian propagandists “out to get her.” Many are begining to see that Angela Merkel’s nightmares are about to be their ability to speak out, being put to sleep by Berlin in ways that uncomfortably remind some of Nazi Germany’s laws against freedom of speech.
But the effect will not be limited to just Germany as announced by Merkel officials.
“The providers of social networks are responsible when their platforms are misused to spread hate crime or illegal false news,” German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement.The proposed law would apply only within German borders. But Maas said Wednesday he would press for similar measures across the European Union.