Stakeholder Press Release: Bernhard Rohleder, CEO Bitkom, on the meeting between Commissioners and online platform’s representatives, taking place 9 January 2018 in Brussels

Social networks and media platforms have existed for 20 years now. Today, in the EU alone, more than one billion posts and tweets, video clips and photos are shared on these platforms every day. Many of them are informative or entertaining, some are disruptive or harmful to minors, others simply illegal and punishable by law. It is time for the European Commission’s leadership to have direct talks with high-level representatives of media platforms and social networks.

In order to combat illegal content on Internet platforms, political, economic and social leaders must cooperate to find solutions. It is the only way to prosecute hate crime and terrorist propaganda under criminal law, containing them effectively. It is not up to private companies to decide on the interpretation of our fundamental rights to freedom of expression and the right to receive information. Besides: The involvement of all parties concerned – in order to significantly reduce violations – also applies to copyright infringements on the Internet.

Germany’s Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) is a bad example for the European Union. Already in the first few days of coming into force, the inevitable becomes evident: legal expressions of opinion – such as satirical contributions – are also being deleted. Europe, with its diverse cultural spaces, must remain a global role model and champion for freedom of expression and a pluralist society. We cannot allow any interference with the fundamental right to freedom of expression or freedom of the arts and science.

Source: Bitkom

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