Poland is preparing a historic move with legislation aimed at cracking down on Big Tech by using massive fines to stop social media giants from censorship of users in their country.
Deputy Polish Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta is the author of the legislation taking aim at Big Tech. In an interview with Fox News, he claimed that “media companies have for too long been targeting conservatives, Christianity and traditional values by banning them and removing posts and the Polish government is saying ‘enough!”‘
“We see that when Big Tech decides to remove content for political purposes, it’s mostly content which praises traditional values or praises conservatism,” the lawmaker charged, “and it is deleted under their ‘hate speech policy’ when it has no legal right to do so.”
The fines that could potentially be levied against Big Tech for censorship are massive. If a social media platform bans a user, the fine could amount to $13.5 million unless the ban is due to the user violating Polish law. To handle disputes, an arbitration committee called the Free Speech Council will convene.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
Kaleta accused social media companies of deciding what was legal and what wasn’t and said that it is not up to them.
“Freedom of speech is not something that anonymous moderators working for private companies should decide,” he proclaimed. “Instead, that is for the national body; duly elected officials and all industries, car, phones, finance — were unregulated till they grew too large — the same should happen with Big Tech.”
Kaleta went on to cite the removal of former President Trump from Twitter as yet another example of Big Tech setting a dangerous precedent and exerting censorship on anyone who doesn’t agree with their political point of view. Poland was a strong ally of Trump and staunchly supported his presidency.
“It’s very disturbing because if Big Tech sees themselves as an organization empowered enough to ban a sitting president of the U.S., it sends a message to the world –that we can ban anyone, whenever we want,” he astutely pointed out.
Kaleta also spoke out against “the preventive censorship of the U.S. President” in a tweet in January.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Facebook in January that social media censorship should not be tolerated, and that the platforms should serve society, not their “powerful owners.”
“Algorithms or the owners of corporate giants should not decide which views are right and which are not,” wrote Morawiecki. “There can be no consent to censorship.”
“Censorship of free speech, which is the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now returning in the form of a new, commercial mechanism to combat those who think differently,” he also said.
“Every day there is more news from the US about the mass removal of accounts criticising the left … defending the freedom of speech is again the biggest challenge of conservatives globally,” MEP Patryk Jaki of the United Poland Party wrote on Facebook.
Poland is no stranger to the silencing of voices and suppression. They suffered for 45 years under the boot heel of communism and it has taught them how precious free speech is. The censorship by Big Tech has alarmed them and they will not sit quietly by as history repeats itself.
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