When other countries moved to regulate social media, it was to force networks to delete content. Poland is turning that concept on its head, legislating to protect freedom of speech on online platforms, government minister Sebastian Kaleta told Breitbart News.
The Polish deputy minister for Justice, Sebastian Kaleta, who has shepherded the nation’s new online freedom of speech bill through conception to a pending vote in the Sejm — national Parliament — joined Breitbart News Network editor in chief Alex Marlow on the Breitbart News Daily show on Tuesday to discuss the law and why it matters.
Minister Kaleta explained that while some other nations, particularly in Europe, had already regulated social media networks, the purpose of these laws was always to restrict what was being said online. He said that Poland — instinctively wary of attempts to limit freedom because of its past being occupied by Soviet Communism in the 20th century — had noticed that the “big tech” giants running social media were imposing their own moral codes on Polish speech, another form of foreign imperialism limiting the rights of Polish citizens.
Kaleta told Breitbart News’s Marlow that: “We saw many big tech firms starting to ban and delete content which presented the point of view of Christian society, of traditional society… deleted on the basis of ‘hate speech’. However, this content did not infringe any Polish law, for example nobody in these particular cases propose violence.”
Poland Urges U.S. to Regulate Big Tech, ‘Every Citizen Must Be Protected’ from Censorship https://t.co/p3MU3VvXIp
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 25, 2021
This move by big tech to control freedom of expression was threatening to thwart “healthy discission” in Poland, he said, because the decisions over what was permissable in the public sphere was increasingly being policed by anonymous moderators. When it came to formulating the new law, Kaleta said, “We saw many big tech firms starting to ban and delete content which presented the point of view of Christian society, of traditional society… deleted on the basis of ‘hate speech’. However, this content did not infringe any Polish law, for example nobody in these particular cases propose violence.”
And with big tech elites completely deplatforming some websites altogether, and even silencing the President of the United States online during his term of office, Minister Kaleta says what Poland is doing to protect freedoms is something American citizens and lawmakers should pay attention to. The next step, he said, would be to look at how social media algorithms — automated processes that take human intervention out of what content is promoted and what isn’t, and even what is deleted and what isn’t, but nevertheless processes designed by human hand at the direction of big tech executives — could be tackled in favour of promoting legal freedom of speech for all online.
For now, however, Poland is looking at a reactive body where individual citizens can complain, and plead their case, if they found they are having their voices silenced in the 21st century public square — online platforms. Kaleta explained how he would protect constitutional speech: “[We have] a proposal to adopt a special body which will have a power to order to restore the content if the content deleted by Big Tech is in line with Polish law, because if any content, any opinion, is in line with Polish law, there is no right for big companies to delete”.
Prime Minister of Poland Vows to Stop Big Tech Censoring ‘Those Who Think Differently’ https://t.co/aHgwrFhHeJ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 15, 2021
The five-member free speech council, which would have members periodically appointed by the Polish parliament, would hear cases and could order social media networks to restore posts, accounts, or reach they found had been illegally removed. Non-compliance with the Polish government’s wishes for its citizens would be met with multi-million fines for tech firms.
Poland is among the first to move on this issue because it is, in part, what Kaleta described as “one of the biggest countries in the world with a government that protects Christian values”, but also because of its legacy of communist rule that “enslaved” its people for decades. The minister said the Polish government have received several enquiries from nations worldwide interested in their “innovative” new law already, but after President Trump was banned from platorms like Twitter, interest surged.
Hungary, another national-conservative European administration is one such country that has shown a clear interest in protecting its citizens’ free speech online. As Breitbart London reported, Hungary’s justice minister Judit Varga said that tech companies “violate all those fundamental democratic legal norms that form the basis of Western-type culture”and the nation would tackle “systemic abuses” of big tech’s power.
Nigel Farage Praises ‘Pioneer’ Andrew Breitbart at CPAC: He Warned Us About Big Tech Censorship https://t.co/Kex9auSGj3
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 3, 2019