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Pagina principale 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

Scritto da 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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 slovenian__croatian_presidents_at_coe_400

    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
----------------------------

EU "Solidarity" ?
------------------------------   

Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

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Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

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