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Parliamentary questions
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15 January 2018
Question for written answer P-000206-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Kosma Złotowski (ECR)

 Subject:  German law against online hate speech and fake news, and the Commission's view
 Answer in writing 

A law counteracting hate speech and fake news on the Internet, ‘Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz’, has been in force in Germany since 1 January 2018. Under rules adopted in 2017, social media and portals are required to remove content found to be offensive or illegal within 24 hours, on the basis of a decision by the competent public administrative body, supervised by the federal government. This law does not guarantee a quick or effective procedure for appealing against a decision of that kind, nor does it set out clear criteria for deciding whether blocked content is inappropriate.

1. When this law was being drawn up, did the European Commission flag up with the German authorities any reservations concerning its content or the risks it poses to freedom of speech and freedom of expression on the Internet? 2. In the Commission’s view, is this law not a form of censorship imposed by public administrative bodies on citizens, which at the same time fails to provide the conditions for an effective appeal to an independent court against a decision to remove content considered inappropriate?

At any stage during the time this law was being drawn up, did the Commission request any opinions or expert advice on these provisions from the internal legal services or external institutions, and if so, were these analyses published? If these opinions are not publicly available, why have they not been published?

Original language of question: PL 
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