Germany receives letter from UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

On 1st June, David Kaye, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, has sent a letter to the German Government concerning a drafted social media bill (Netzdurchführungsgesetz). The bill is introduced as a measure to protect network users against hate speech and misinformation. The bill was approved by the Cabinet and is expected to be voted on in Parliament before the national elections in September 2017. Kaye sets up seven serious concerns an concludes: “The liability placed upon private companies to remove third party content absent a judicial oversight is not compatible with international human rights law.” Censorship measures should not be delegated to private entities ((A/HRC/17/31). Germany has 60 days to respond. The letter has been published at the website of the Special Rapporteur.

The German Cultural Council (Deutscher Kulturrat), Wikimedia Germany, Reporters sans frontières and other organizations in Germany have signed a “Declaration on Freedom of Expression” (“Deklaration für die Meinungsfreiheit“) as immediate reaction on the social media bill draft.