Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell on behalf of the European Commission
The EU is committed to protecting freedom of expression both online and offline.
The Digital Services Act proposed by the Commission in December 2020, establishes strong safeguards for freedom of expression by setting out a due process and a solid, accountable governance for online platforms’ decisions.
The proposal includes both user redress through internal and out-of-court dispute settlement mechanisms, as well as information requirements when content is removed by platforms, including under their terms and conditions.
The proposal also sets specific rules for very large online platforms to assess and mitigate the negative effects their systems are likely to have on freedom of expression. These due diligence obligations are coupled with robust, public-facing transparency reporting obligations, and supervised closely by competent authorities and the Commission.
The EU stands firm in its commitment to protect freedom of expression and freedom of association in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Expression.
The EU addresses malpractices online that could endanger or limit freedom of expression in regular human rights dialogues with partner countries around the world. This is always in line with the EU’s worldwide advocacy against Internet shutdowns and its call to all States to ensure that all citizens have access to an open, secure and free Internet.