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Freedom of speech

Macedonia: Freedom of expression endangered by new law

5 June, 2013

The new Macedonian law on Law on Media and Audiovisual Media Services creates serious risks for freedom of expression in Macedonia.

The new law expands the scope of state control from broadcast media (which is justified because they use a limited public resource, namely wireless spectrum) to all kinds of media, including online and print. This is neither justified and unnecessary and far exceeds the requirements of the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/EU.

Furthermore, excessively broad definitions (for instance, the concept of journalists) and vague formulations create the risk and possibility of arbitrary interpretation by state regulators, which would increase the risk of the undermining of freedom of expression.

The drafting of the law suffered from

Turkish demonstrations using social media despite censorship

5 June, 2013

In other times, events as those taking place in Turkey now would have probably been much unknown to the rest of the world. But, over the past several years, social media has developed spectacularly and with it, its role in promoting, organizing and responding to protest and revolution.

The protests taking place in Turkey, organized initially in response to government plans to build a new mall on a green space in the centre, have turned into a demonstration against the government’s policies.

The fight between the Turkish government and the demonstrating citizens has not taken place only in the streets but also in the social media. A huge amount of tweets mentioning hashtags related to the protest have been sent.

SIF Unconference: Enforcement through "self-"Regulation - who ever thought this was a good idea?

27 May, 2013

Last week, European Digital Rights attended the second annual Stockholm Internet Forum which focused on two main themes: Internet Freedom and Security and Internet Freedom and Development. A novelty this year were the Unconference sessions.

Germany: Google must remove autocomplete harmful searches if notified

22 May, 2013

On 14 May 2013, the German Federal Court ruled that Google auto-complete feature may, under certain circumstances, constitute an infringement of the personality right, under the German Civil Code and the German Basic Law.

Since April 2009, Google has introduced an "autocomplete" feature integrated into the search engine, which automatically brings forth suggestions, as word combinations, when a user enters a search in a window.

Iceland’s Supreme Court lifted the financial blocking of Wikileaks

8 May, 2013

Iceland’s Supreme Court ruled on 24 April 2013 that Valitor, Visa’s local partner in Iceland, had to resume processing online donations to WikiLeaks within two weeks or face a daily fine of around 5200 Euro in case of non-compliance, thus backing up the decision taken by a lower Icelandic court in July 2012.

“This is a victory for WikiLeaks and freedom of information.

Commission promises better monitoring of “self-regulation” projects

24 April, 2013

In February 2013, EDRi wrote to European Commission President José-Manuel Barroso to highlight problems with the very divergent and contradictory approaches being taken by the Commission regarding the role of intermediaries in dealing with allegedly illegal content and to support the evidence-based approach of Commissioner Barnier and DG Internal Market.

The letter was motivated by two different developments in the Commission. Firstly, we have seen a constant trickle of “self-regulatory” initiatives proposed and funded by the Commission, such as the “CEO Coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids” (child protection, led by Commissioner Kroes) and the “Clean IT Project” (terrorism, funded by Commissioner Malmström).

CleanIT is vague and dangerous according to CleanIT-funded study

24 April, 2013

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: CleanIT laut Studie unklar und gefährlich

The University of Tilburg was requested by the Dutch National Coordinator on Counter-Terrorism and Security to comment on the fundamental rights implications of the so-called “Best Practices” that have been developed in the Clean IT project.

This report commented on a final very short document from CleanIT and not the more outlandish proposals leaked by EDRi several months ago.

The Tilburg report argues that, given the lack of clarity on the term “terrorist use of the Internet” and the unpredictability of the practical implementation

Turkish pianist sentenced for comments on Twitter

24 April, 2013

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Meinungsfreiheit: Türkischer Pianist wegen Twitter-Kommentaren verurt...

On 15 April 2013, the Criminal Court of Justice of Istanbul gave Turkish pianist Fazil Say a 10 month suspended jail sentence over comments on Twitter, deciding he was guilty of violating an article of the Turkish Criminal Code that forbids the “denigration of the religious values held by a section of society”.

The pianist was prosecuted in June 2012 by the Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office after he had posted a series of tweets on Twitter and was accused of insulting Islam, while t

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