Polish lawmakers are moving to draft a law that would combat online “censorship” in the aftermath of Facebook and Twitter banning President Trump from their platforms.
“The censorship of freedom of speech, the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is returning today in the form of a new, commercial mechanism fighting against those who think differently,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a Facebook post Tuesday.
Sebastian Kaleta, a secretary of state at Poland’s Ministry of Justice, echoed Morawieki’s thoughts, saying that the blocking of Trump’s social media accounts had “an effect which could even be called censorship.”
Polish fears of internet censorship predate Trump’s social media ban, with Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro announcing last month that the government was preparing a law that was aimed at protecting online free speech.
“It’s not uncommon that representatives of various groups operating in Poland fall victim to ideological censorship when seeing their content removed or blocked from the internet,” Ziobro argued.
The proposed law would make it illegal for social media companies to remove posts or block accounts unless the post or account violated Polish law. If they do, such accounts could file an appeal that the social media company would have 48 hours to respond to.
The proposal came after Facebook restricted the content of some of Poland’s Right-leaning personalities, sparking some in the country to complain that social media platforms were attempting to censor conservatives.
The polish criticism of Trump’s bans comes as other world leaders have also questioned the wisdom of silencing some forms of political speech.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she found Trump’s social media ban “problematic,” while Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he did not agree with the move.
“I don’t like anybody being censored or taking away from the right to post a message on Twitter or Facebook. I don’t agree with that. I don’t accept that,” Lopez Obrador said. “A court of censorship, like the Inquisition, to manage public opinion: This is really serious.”
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire echoed that sentiment, saying that tech companies should not be responsible for regulating speech.
“The regulation of digital giants cannot be done by the digital oligarchy itself,” Le Maire said, arguing that Big Tech companies are a “threat” to democracy.