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Home arrow newsitems arrow Europe Internet Providers Head Rotert to EF: Concern for EU-CoE Moves on "Hate Speech"+ Human Rights

Europe Internet Providers Head Rotert to EF: Concern for EU-CoE Moves on "Hate Speech"+ Human Rights

Written by ACM
Thursday, 16 March 2017
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- A Pioneer of Internet Global Communications, since the Early 1980ies, Professor in German University of nearby Karlsruhe (an EU "MIT" for many), as well as Experienced Top Representative of Internet Providers Associations, both at the European/International Level, and, particularly, for the currently Thriving German Digital Industry, Professor Michael Rotert, speaking to "Eurofora" on the sidelines of a CoE's PanEuropean/International Conference in Strasbourg, (See Infra), clearly Confirmed the Interest also of ISP Businesses in Europe to carefuly examine certain Delicate and "Hot", Topical Issues, affecting Both Human Rights and Economic/Social Interests, including that of Recently Growing, Controversial Attempts to activey involve Internet Providers in attempts to Block so-called "Hate Speech" by various Users, which raises Complex Questions whenever it goes Far Beyond the obviously Legitimate Fight against Violence, but might alsoo affect People's Views and Opinions on Political or Social matters, etc.

 

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- F.ex., in several such cases, it' Not always Evident what might be Really "Hate Speech", or Not, while, also, Different Experts might give Contrasting Verdicts, on a matter which Concerns also ECHR's Art. 1O on "Freedom of Expression", as well as EU's Fundamental Rights' Charter, etc., Prof. Rotert criticized earlier.


By doing so, as an Official Representative of Internet Providers Associations at a European level's Debate, he Revealed, in Fact, that this, currently, very "Hot" and Topical Issue, does Not concern Only the Human Rights' Defenders and Community, (which had been the 1st to Raise relevant Question Marks : See Infra), but also Hard Facts and Real Interests of Economic Actors in EU/CoE Member Countries, opening an way for some possibly Interesting Synergies.


Already, in a Recent Past, various relevant NGOs, including from the UK, Belgium and the USA, etc, with activities Spreading from Christian Values supporters, to Businesses, Medias, or Internet Freedom Associations, etc., which used to Cooperate also with EU Commission in Brussels, had launched Strong Protests and "Hot" Alerts against a Commissioner's controversial attempt to broker a Deal with Big Corporations among Internet Access Providers, (Most of them from the USA, such as "Google", "Facebook", etc), in order to Block and/or Muzzle any eventual Publication at the Web of Contents which might be considered as "Hate Speech", even if they had Nothing to do with Violence (i.e. Appeals for - and/or - Apology/Negationism of Violent Acts, etc), but Only concerned EU Citizens' Expression of Opinions and various Views on Social Issues and/or Values, Political Debates, etc, (See, f.ex., inter alia, also "Eurofora"s NewsReports at : ... + ...).


Things became even "Hotter" After the recent US Presidential Elections of November 2016, particularly when the Out-Going Obama Administration and some of its Closest Allies, had become quite Upset by the very Active and apparently Efficient Role that have Played Many and Various New Internet Medias in the UnExpected Victory of New US President Don Trump, (in Addition, also, to several Other such Socio-Political Developments, recently, also throughout Europe, etc).


To the point that, in Addition to various Similar Developments, launched inside the USA during the Last Months of that Out-Going Obama's Administration, (i.e., f.ex. between October/November 2016 and January 2017), we witnessed, even inside CoE's PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly, during its Latest Plenary Session in Strasbourg, on January 2017, the Astonishing, and apparently UnPrecedented event, at the Vote of Amendments in a Report on "Internet Medias", addressed Only from Negative points of View, such as "Hate Speech", etc, a PACE Rapporteur from a State Notoriously "Problematic" on Internet Freedom and/or Free Speech Issues, (Turkey), to Systematicaly and Totaly Oppose All Amendments, even the most Lenient ones, presented by certain Mainstream and Experienced Top MEPs, as, f.ex, also the former Long-Time PACE Commitee President, Valeriu Giletchi, a prominent ChristianDemocrat MEP from Moldova, etc., including a Simple Mention of the Word "Freedom of Expression", and even a Faithful Citation of ECHR's well-established Case Law's famous Formula on the Legal Definition of the Human Right for Free Speech, its content, interest, scope and limits, (which were all, curiously, Rejected, with a Small Difference of Votes, by a Tiny Minority of MEPs Present at the Hemicycle until a very Late Hour of that Evening, while Most MEPs were Absent, during a particularly Busy Session Date)...


Therefore, it was, naturaly, a Welcome and Timely Development, to see, Today at the COE, that even a Representative of Internet Providers' Businesses, with Strong European, PanEuropean and even International Experience at Top Jobs in that area, and coming from one among the Biggest EU and CoE Member Countries, (Germany), as Professor Michael Rotert, was Motivated enough in order to Actively Raise such a nowadays "Hot" and Delicate Issue, which Affects Both Human Rights, GeoPolitics, and the Economy of Europe, (Comp. Supra and Infra). Particularly when it comes from an Historic Pioneer of Internet, who has reportedly Worked in certain practical Coperations Bringing Together Germany with France and USA, even China, etc., f.ex. already as Early as since the Middle 1980ies, when he managed to set up the First Email and/or other Trans-Continental Internet Communications, even Before the Creation of the World Wide Web during the 1990ies, (when f.ex., the 1st Web Page was notoriously Published from Geneva on 1995 by a Brittish Scientist on Physics, one of the 1st multilingual Internet Medias was Published and Experimented by "Eurofora"s co-Founder and some other Journalists Friends, under the Initial Name of "EIW", at the Beginning of 1996 in Strasbourg, closely Followed by the Famous "Drudge Report" in the USA, from 1997, etc. : See, f.ex.  ...). But also by a Well Experimented Top Representative of European/PanEuropean/International Associations of Internet Providers, (before Focusing recently on the relevant German Industruy Association), often Invited at various Top European and/or International Fora, (including f.ex., the "Internet Foundation", "IGF", etc), and EU/CoE Expert.

 

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Rotert was a Keynote Speaker in an exceptional CoE's Conference, Today Afternoon in Strasbourg, on "Key Trends from the AudioVisual Market, and Regulation", organized by CoE's PanEuropean AudioVisual Observatory (EAVObs), for the Celebration of its 25th Anniversary since it was Founded (1992 - 2017), (which had Invited also "Eurofora" to attend), on the occasion of which it Published its New, 2017 "YearBook" on recent Developments around Cinema, TV and Video on Demand (VoD), etc., Production, Circulation, Services, Distribution and Markets, as well as main "Players", concluding on current Perspectives for the emergence of "PanEuropean Groups" in Broadcasting and/or Medias Services.

 

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     Even Symbolicaly, EAVObs had been created by the COE on a very "particular" Year, 1992, when, (as Reminded earlier one among its Experts : Fransisco Cabrera-Blasquez, from Spain), the US was under Bill Clinton's Presidency, a Bloody War was Starting in former Yugoslavia, and "Mickey Mouse" was Arriving in Europe, (All this at the Same Time)... "Eurofora" remembers that by a Timely Coincidence, 1992 was also the Year during which Opened in Strasbourg the "European Press Centre" superb, Modern Building, (then Serving Journalists and Medias who covered Both the COE and EU Parliament, etc), in an overall Context of a Will to Help Boost Europe's role in the World of Global Informational/Cultural flows.

Today, 25 Years Later, Professor Rotert seemed to Agree, at least in principle, with "Eurofora"s subsequent remark that, in fact, the Issue that he had raised now, had at least a Threefold Dimension : (1) Human Rights and Freedom of Expression, (2) GeoPolitical, since most Big relevant Internet Providers are still located out of Europe, mainly at the US, (and particularly nowadays California). (3) Economic, as Users and/or other relevant Players, who might find, eventualy, too cumbersome and/or controversial, one or another relevant EU/COoE Rules about certain Delicate areas of so-called "Hate Speech" and Internet Providers' possible role and/or Duties, could Search to Find anOther Location, at anOther, Different Jurisdiction, elsewhere, (f.ex. Switzerland or Iceland, as far as EU Rules are concerned, and even USA or various Other Countries in the World (as some Interet-related Businesses have already done), as far as COE is concerned, possibly resulting in a regrettable loss for European Economy too.

CoE's Director on Medias and Internet, Silvia Grundmann, in a subsequent Intervention at that Conference, and afterwards speaking further with "Eurofora", warned that the PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law's competent Steering Committee on Medias and Information Society (CDMSI) currently Prepares a brand New official Recommendation, includig several relevant Norms, whose Draft is expected to be presented to COE's Highest Political Body, its Committee of Ministers, for Final Decision, towards the End of 2017.


The work of such Inter-Governemental Committees of the CoE is, in principle, largely "Confidential", and everything depends on Final Political Decisions by its Committee of Ministers, which will be Chaired, then, by Danemark.


Meanwhile, during the current Preparation period, CoE's Inter-Goveremental work is under the supervision of Committee of Ministers' rotating Chairmanships by Cyprus, which will be succeeded from the End of May 2017, by the Czech Republic, and Prof. Rotert ensured "Eurofora" that he intends to be well Present, as an Expert and/or relevant NGO/Civil Society representative, to the Work of CDMSI and other related CoE or EU bodies, "in order to Defend the Positions of Internet Providers" also on the above-mentioned, mainly Human Rights Issue.  


That matter becomes even more Topical Nowadays, from Manifold points of View, including even the AudioVisual Content Creation and Industry, whose Consumption model's "No 1 Shake-up", recently, is the Transition between Cinema and TV towards a "Rise of Internet Platforms", (including for VoD, etc), as stressed CoE's AudioVisual Observatory Expert, Agnes Schneeberger, speaking during the Conference Concluding session, together with the PanEuropean Body's CEO, Suzanne Nikoltchev, well experienced particularly on Legal affairs.


However, CoE's PanEuropean AudioVisual Observatory's Committee Chairman, Johannes Studinger, concluding the work of the Conference invited for a "Dialogue with Legislators" nowadays, inviting "Not to be Afraid to Ask Questions", even if Critical.


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("DraftNews", as already sent to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).


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(Opinion)

Paris - Bruxelles - Strasbourg, 2 septembre 2008

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Le spectaculaire succès du Président français, Nicolas Sarkozy, (en tête de l'UE jusqu'a décembre), à obtenir de suite un cessez le feu inattendu entre la Russie et la Georgie, immédiatement après sa visite aux Présidents Medvedev et Saakashvili, au pire moment de tensions et heurts violents meurtieurs, qui avaient tué plusieurs innocents et provoqué le deplacement forcé de réfugiés par milliers, lui donne incontestablement une stature vraiment européenne :

A ses liens personnels bien connus avec l'Hongrie, la Grece, l'Italie ou l'Espagne, en sus de son amitié avec la chancelière allemande Merkel, son souhait d'essayer d'attirer l'Angleterre au jeu européen, etc, s'y ajoute, maintenant, une réussite, fragile certes, mais importante, au combat pour la Paix dans la "grande" Europe du général De Gaulle, "jusqu'a l'Oural", qui inclut naturellement la Géorgie, l'Arménie et d'autres pays, et ne peut exister qu'avec rapports de confiance et partenartiat stratégique avec la Russie.

Apres avoir réussi à debloquer la situation au Liban, (pays avec liens culturels historiques en Europe), lors du Sommet pour la Méditerranée à Paris, juillet dernier, (comme atteste maintenant le prémier accord d'echange d'Ambassadeurs avec la Syrie), Sarkozy activa maintenant une présidence française de l'EU bien entreprenante, à l'autre bout de l'Europe, à Moscou, où, contrairement à Napoléon, il a été reçu avec soulagement par le nouveau président russe, ami de l'experimenté Vladimir Poutine.

Cet homme politique rélativement nouveau au plan politique européen, avec une vision souvent critique ou même critiquée, à tort ou a raison, mais ambitieuse et concrete a la fois, qui aime s'adresser aux "Européens", comme il dit, n'est-il pas bien placé pour stimuler le fameux débat sur l' "Identité de l' Europe", qu'il a proposé au Parlement Européen récemment à Strasbourg, moins d'un an avant les Elections européennes de 2009 ?

En 2007, il a réussi à faire monter spectaculairement la participation citoyenne aux élections présidentielles en France, obtenant des récords historiques :

N'est-ce pas, justement ce que l' Europe a bésoin, apres 2 abstentions majoritaires sans précedent aux Elections de 1999 et 2004, et 3 "Non" aux réferenda pour ses institutions en 2005 et 2008, pendant une décennie trouble 1999-2008, (marquée surtout par la demande controversée de la Turquie d'entrer dans l'UE eclipsant les avancées de la Monnaie unique et de la liberté de circulation à l'espace Shengen, avec consequences mal-ressenties par la majorité des citoyens, bien au-délà des clivages du passé), qui a failli stopper l'integration européenne ?

Et cela, au moment même ou une globalisation galopante met l'Europe devant un choix crucial entre saut qualitatif en avant, apte à valoriser une occasion historique exceptionelle à se développer résolument, après les vaines destructions, querelles et tensions des guerres "chaudes" ou "froides" qui lui ont couté son rang dans le Monde, ou réculer définitivement en décadence...

Alors, que certains de nos amis à la Commission en Bruxelles, lui laissent au moins un peu d'espace de mouvement, et qu'ils l'aident à tenter d'insufler de l' oxygène frais et vivifiant aux rapports entre les citoyens et une Europe qui a manifestement bésoin et mérite de retrouver d'urgence un nouveau dynamisme populaire, avec un souci de réalisme mais aussi une vision passionante pour son avenir !

Après tout, les Etats Unis d' Amérique ne se sont pas faits à coups de bureaucratie, nécessaire et utile, mais manifestement insuffisante : Sans l'impulsion d'hommes politiques originaux, d'intellectuels vraiment engagés, et, surtout, sans l'enorme énergie émanant de la conscience d'enjeux à la fois pratiques et grandioses, bien resentis par des millions de citoyens, stimulant leur adhésion active comme pioniers d'un nouveau avenir commun à construire, ils seraient encore une ex-colonie périphérique, affaiblie par stériles divisions, passif et impuissant spectateur des convulsions tragiques d'un Monde à la dérive...

Que les vrais "européens" ré-lisent au moins les fameux discours historiques sur l' Europe d'un Sarkozy bien inspiré à Strasbourg, aussi bien avant qu'après avoir gagné les élections françaises, le 21 février et le 2 juillet 2007, après son 1er sommet des Bruxelles, qui a adopté le nouveau Traité de l'UE en conclusion de la presidence allémande : Bonnes lectures pour cet été 2008, afin de préparer l' avenir qui s'ouvrira (ou fermera) à partir des élections européennes de 2009.

Peut-etre revelera-t-il plus, en ce sens, lors de ses 2 discours-debats prochains avec les eurodeputés, prévus lors des sessions plenières du Parlement Européen a Strasbourg en octobre et décembre 2008... 

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Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had already unveiled President Sarkozy's intentions, during a particularly "hot" Press Conference in Paris, where he faced some's insistance for "sanctions", with a call for "a common EU stance". In the meanwhile, he was consulting "all these days" most of his EU, Russia and Georgia counterparts, (as Sarkozy's Spokesman, P-J. Henin confirmed to "EuroFora"). This allowed him to obtained the desired result, as EU Chairman, at a short, exceptional EU Summit in Brussels, afterwards.

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But, Sarkozy's No 1 official, Presidential palace's Secretary General Claude Gueant, active at Elysee during the 2008 Ambassadors' Conference, (together with his Top Diplomat, the experienced David Levitte), is well known for having an overall view : A link with 2009 EU Elections at the horizon ?

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