More Internet content blacklisted in Europe

By EDRi · April 23, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The European Ministers of Justice and Internal Affairs have agreed to make
publishing bomb-making instructions on the Internet a crime. The French
authorities are discussing making the publication on the Internet of any
alleged pro-anorexia information a crime.

Justice and interior ministers from the EU member states backed a proposal
from Commissioner Frattini to harmonise the normative acts that will make
the “public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment, and
training for terrorism” a crime. According to the statements of the EU
officials publishing these acts on the Internet completed the European
legislation in this domain. They described the Internet as “a virtual
training camp for militants, used to inspire and mobilise local groups.”
Gilles de Kerchove, the EU anti-terrorism co-ordinator, declared that there
are approx. 5 000 websites that are used to radicalise young people.

The plans triggered some criticism from free speech supporters that
considered the move could be misused by authorities. Recent news, cited by
UK Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford reports that: “UK police threatened
anti-China protestors at the display of the Olympic Torch with arrest under
anti-terror laws.” Dick Marty, Chairman of the PACE Sub-Committee on Crime
Problems and Fight against Terrorism, questioned the Commission’s proposal
incorporating the Council of Europe’s Convention on terrorism which would
“establish the criminal offences of public provocation to commit a terrorist
offence, recruitment for terrorism and training for terrorism. However, it
omits to include the convention’s Article 12 safeguard clause in the
operative text of the framework decision. Mentioning fundamental human
rights only in the preamble or in a recital is not enough. The message,
outside as well as inside Europe, must be clear: anti-terrorist measures
must be conditional on respect for fundamental human rights.”

Ben Hayes also explained in an article for Statewatch the potential problems
of the measure: “While the recurring publication of the ‘Danish cartoons’ of
the Prophet Mohammed continues to provoke anger in the Muslim world and a
defence of ‘free speech’ in the West, a proposed EU law on ‘public
provocation’ to terrorism could criminalise widely held political views –
but it has barely raised a murmur.”

Another type of content is now on some French politicians’ agenda as public
enemy number one: pro-anorexia websites. A draft law that makes
any kind of propaganda for products, objects or methods used for an
“excessive thinness” a crime was adopted by the National Assembly on 15
April 2008 and now it will pass to the Senate for consideration. The draft
law supported by the deputy Valérie Boyer foresees penalties with 2 years
imprisonment and 30 000 Euro as fines for publishing such information
online. The report drafted by the deputy accused the pro-anorexic websites
and the big number of blogs written by young people that are supporters for
this method of life, as being too easy to be accessed by the French youth.

EU tightens anti-terrorism laws (18.04.2008)

“White man’s burden”: criminalising free speech (04.2008)

Statement by Dick Marty, addressing the Committee on Civil Liberties,
Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament in Brussels (7.04.2008)

Pro-anorexia websites on the point to be declared illegal (only in French,