Protect freedom of speech in the EU # FreeSpeechEU
This petition had 3,238 supporters
The non-governmental organization "European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation" has written a statute to be adopted by the European Parliament. This statute, the “European Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance”, aims to constrain free speech in the EU, criminalise noncompliance, create measures for re-education of EU citizens, to control the media and, ultimately, to create a climate of fear and repression within our society.
These plans conflict with many fundamental rights, such as freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of science, freedom of art and freedom of speech, which are guaranteed in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We, the citizens of Europe, do not want a totalitarian structure of states, where opinions are dictated and where we have to fear that our neighbors will report us to the government for making critical statements!
We do not want a Europe where teenagers have to endure re-education measures after making a joke about feminism!
We do not want a Europe where the media are supervised and censored!
We do not want a Europe where people are convicted and punished for critical statements or satire!
The signatories of this petition call on the members of the European Parliament and on the members of the national governments and parliaments belonging to the EU:
1) Stop the "European Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance", provided that you can vote on it!
2) Prevent national or EU authorities, from monitoring and re-educating EU citizens!
3) Protect freedom of speech, it is the basis of democracy and the rule of law!
Background information: ”European Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance“
The essentially noble objective of the statute is to establish tolerance towards groups that are characterized by common racial or cultural roots, ethnic origin or descent, religious affiliation or linguistic links, gender identity, sexual orientation or comparable features.
However, the draft envisages that "concrete action" is taken to “eliminate” racism, colour bias, ethnic discrimination, religious intolerance, totalitarian ideologies, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia and "anti-feminism" (section 2e).
"Libel" against one of the groups listed should be prosecuted and sanctioned. According to the statute, "group libel" already exists if you make fun of one of these groups. So, for example, jokes about feminists or cartoons including religious allusions would be prosecuted. Violations would not be handled as simple, but as aggravated crimes (section 7).
In section 3, the following is stated:
“Guarantee of tolerance must be understood not only as a vertical relationship (Government-to-individuals) but also as a horizontal relationship (group-to-group and person-to-person). It is the obligation of the Government to ensure that intolerance is not practiced either in vertical or in horizontal relationships.”
According to the statute, the government would therefore have to ensure that "intolerance" (in the statute’s sense) is not practiced in the contact of citizens with each other. Critical comments or jokes that you express in the presence of other persons might thus lead to criminal prosecution.
Monitoring authorities and re-education of youth
Monitoring of rule compliance should be ensured through establishment of a "National Tolerance Monitoring Commission" (Section 6). The statute envisages it to be empowered with the authority to impose penal sanctions.
Juveniles who have violated the tolerance laws, e.g. by committing libel, should undergo compulsory rehabilitation programmes aimed to “instill in them a culture of tolerance". “Tolerance education" is to be performed from early childhood on in all levels of society: in primary and secondary schools, universities, continuing adult education, military and law enforcement agencies, in the public sector and in the media. According to section 9, public radio and television stations should be obliged to dedicate a prescribed part of their programme to “promoting a climate of tolerance”. Compliance with an "ethical code of conduct", valid for all media, is to be monitored by a "mass media complaints commission."
Our free societies themselves are in danger
If this paper is approved at the EU level, it would mean the end of free speech in Europe. The statute is a frontal attack at our free societies, at the freedom of opinion, freedom of press, freedom of art and freedom of science.
In the media, the danger from this statute remained largely unnoticed. A few media, such as Trending Central, address the threat posed by the potential implementation into national legislation and outline the scenario of an unfree surveillance state. However, the outcry that would be necessary in the light of this development has not occurred.
Freedom is easily lost, if nobody stands up for it. Let us take on the responsibility for ensuring that our European societies remain places where people can live together in freedom and without fear of state repression and arbitrariness.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19:
”Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.“
The complete European Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance can be found here.
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