Populist Leader Says German Censorship Law Is ‘Direct Attack on Freedom of Speech’

Von Storch
Reuters

The deputy leader of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has slammed Germany’s new censorship law, calling the measure a “direct attack” on free speech.

Beatrix von Storch had both her Twitter and Facebook accounts frozen on Jan. 1 for supposedly violating “hate speech” rules, after the political leader expressed her anger on social media at a New Year’s greeting issued in Arabic by the Cologne Police.

“What the hell is happening in this country? Why is an official police site tweeting in Arabic? Do you think it is to appease the barbaric, gang-raping hordes of Muslim men?” von Storch tweeted.

In an interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday, Ms. Von Storch recalled that more than a thousand women and girls were “victims of sexual violence and harassment by Muslim asylum-seekers and so-called refugees” during Cologne’s notorious New Year’s Eve celebrations in 2015.

Similar atrocities were only avoided this year, she said, through the deployment of “a vast number of police.”

Ever since Merkel’s open-door policy has been in effect, “crime and violence have become a part of daily life in Germany,” von Storch told Breitbart. “Yet still the Government follows its multicultural agenda.”

Von Storch said that ever since the disaster of 2015, Cologne has become “a sad symbol of the failure of Germany’s immigration policy,” and yet the Cologne police “used the Arabic language to wish people a Happy New Year,” a choice she called “absolutely inappropriate.”

Yet when Ms. Von Storch expressed her criticism on twitter, she was censored for what the reigning authorities deemed to be “hate speech” according to Germany’s new network speech enforcement law.

This past summer, the German government passed its Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) law requiring social media sites to monitor and immediately remove any hate speech, fake news or illegal material, or face fines. Officials gave social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube until the end of 2017 to prepare themselves for the implementation of the law, and Ms. Von Storch was among its first victims.

Von Storch told Breitbart that the NetzDG “is a direct attack on freedom of speech in the social media,” adding that the German Government “introduced this law to purge the social media of undesired opinions, in particular criticism of Merkel’s immigration and refugee policy.”

“As a point of fact,” she continued, “public censorship now exists in Germany despite the fact that it is outlawed by the German constitution.”

Von Storch said that the application of the law is clearly unbalanced as well, since it was instituted only to root out certain opinions, not others.

“This unconstitutional law is now used against the opposition,” she said, and thus “freedom of speech in Germany is in peril.”

“We need to have the courage to fight for our principles,” she said, citing Ronald Reagan’s remark that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

“Defending freedom and democracy from political correctness, censorship, crime and Islamism is what the AfD is all about,” she said.

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