Poland will pass a new law that will defend freedom of speech against censorship on social networks

Parliament of Poland (Photo: Wikimedia)

By A.S.

After the ban of Trump on Twitter and Facebook, and with rapidly increasing censorship on social networks, Poland has decided to pass a new law, which will make it illegal for big tech companies to take similar actions in that country.

Polish government officials have announced that a new law is being prepared, which will make it illegal for big social networks to ban or censor Polish users, who will be able to post everything that is not against the law in Poland.

Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on his Facebook account that “owners of corporate giants should not decide which views are right and which are not”, adding that there can be no consent to censorship.

“Censorship of free speech, which is the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now returning in the form of a new, commercial mechanism to combat those who think differently,” he also wrote.

Secretary of state at Poland’s Ministry of Justice, Sebastian Kaleta, explained that the draft of the law, which is being prepared by the justice ministry will make it illegal for social media giants to remove the posts that do not break Polish law.

Kaleta also stated for a Polish newspaper that “removing lawful content would directly violate the law, and this will have to be respected by the platforms that operate in Poland”.

Under this new law, which will defend freedom of speech, users will be able to file a court petition that would force social media companies to restore removed content, if it did not violate any Polish law. The court would take up to seven days to decide, and the process would be completely electronic.

President of the Panoptykon Foundation, a non-governmental organization aiming to protect fundamental rights and freedoms in the fast-changing world of technology and growing surveillance, Katarzyna Szymielewicz said that the proposed new law is “quite in line with what civil society has been fighting for, against arbitrary censorship online”, adding that the national laws should decide what could or couldn´t be allowed online, and not tech companies. But she also noted that “it would be much wiser to focus on co-creating a mature, sound EU-wide regulation”, which was also proposed to the EU by Prime Minister Morawiecki.

Patryk Jaki of the United Poland party, which is a part of the ruling coalition with PiS, wrote on his Facebook account that “every day there is more news from the US about the mass removal of accounts criticizing the left … defending the freedom of speech is again the biggest challenge of conservatives globally”.