More Internet Content Blacklisted In Europe

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 04/23/2008 - 5:46pm.

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 on 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)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7355446.stm

"White man’s burden": criminalising free speech (04.2008)
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/apr/viewpoint-bh.pdf

Statement by Dick Marty, addressing the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament in Brussels (7.04.2008)
http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/APFeaturesManager/defaultArtSiteView.asp?I…

Pro-anorexia websites on the point to be declared illegal (only in French, 15.04.2008)
http://www.01net.com/editorial/378261/les-sites-pro-anorexie-sur-le-po…

European Digital Rights - April 23, 2008 - posted at www.edri.org/edrigram/number6.8/

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 04/23/2008 - 5:46pm.