The Polish government’s world-leading struggle against the power of Big Tech continued yesterday as Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro formally announced the nation’s groundbreaking freedom of speech bill.
The proposed law, which was reported by this site earlier in the week, will see the establishment of a freedom of speech council that can compel the tech giants to restore deleted content and reverse decisions to block users, or levy massive fines if the Silicon Valley firms refuse to comply.
The announcement came alongside a powerful statement from the country’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who pointed back to the dark days of communist censorship under the USSR.
Writing on Facebook, he said: “I was born and raised among people for whom freedom was the most precious of values. In Poland we are so attached to freedom because we know what it is like when someone tries to limit it.”
He went on to compare the tech giants to repressive regimes of the past, saying: “We are now increasingly faced with practices we believed were left in the past. The censoring of free speech, once the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now back, but in a new form, run by corporations, who silence those who think differently.”
And he vowed to continue fighting against the rising tide of ideological censorship, confirming that “Poland will always stand at the guard of democratic values, including freedom of speech” and warning tech giants that their networks “cannot operate above the law.”
Poland’s moves are part of a wider international pushback against online ideological censorship since the nearly simultaneous removal of the sitting President of the United States from most major digital platforms.
Yesterday we reported that the President of Mexico Manuel López Obrador was taking aim at the corporations, warning that vague threats of violence and incitement “cannot be used as a pretext to suspend freedom of expression.”
His comments followed warnings from other unlikely allies: the outgoing Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and figures from the French government. A spokesman for Merkel confirmed that she “considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have been permanently blocked.”