Reporters Without Borders: Russian bill is copy-and-paste of Germany’s (terrible) hate speech law

Across the world states are trying to lock down speech. China is leading the way but Europe and the US are increasingly restrictive.

Of course it’s all an effort at restricting “hate speech.” Right.

Speech is speech, and “hate speech” as defined by the state is often just something someone somewhere in the state aparatus doesn’t want to hear.

(From Reporters Without Borders)

Our worst fears have been realized,” said Christian Mihr, RSF Germany’s executive director. “The German law on online hate speech is now serving as a model for non-democratic states to limit Internet debate.”

The German law has also inspired the United Kingdom. A UK parliamentary report in April cited the German example when it recommended making social networks pay large fines for failing to remove hate speech quickly enough.

Growing censorship

Passed on first reading, the Russian bill would invite Internet users to report “unlawful” content and would give social networks 24 hours to remove all originals and re-posts. Several Russian legislators have proposed making social networks pay fines of up to 50 million roubles (735,500 euros) if they fail to comply.

To avoid being fined, social networks would be tempted to extend the scope of their censorship, especially as the bill’s definition of what constitutes unlawful content is very vague. Social networks subjected to government scrutiny would be obliged to send all notified content to the authorities every three months.

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