Day 10 of Article 13 Passage: Free Speech Advocates Vow to Fight On

While the laws may have been passed, digital rights advocates are not giving up the right to free speech so easily.

Late last month, free speech took a critical blow when Europe passed Internet censorship laws. The laws were passed after things got ugly when big publishers threatened EU politicians with negative publicity if they opted not to toe the corporate line. Following the stunning outcome, European’s everywhere found themselves grieving over the loss of free speech online.

Analysis of the vote outcome says that, at this stage, it is unlikely that things can be reversed. No one ever said that it would be impossible to undo all the damage caused by the vote. German digital rights advocacy group, Digital Courage, is announcing (German) that this is the last chance to stop the censorship machines.

The group is saying that they are calling on German citizens to pressure the agriculture minister to vote to save the Internet. As bizarre as it sounds, digital rights advocates say that it is the German agriculture minister that is going to decide the fate of the European Internet. A vote is scheduled for April 15 and they are hoping to convince her to vote against censorship and to save the Internet.

Germany has a pretty unique position in this debate because it is one of a small handful of countries that could help make the last ditch effort to save the Internet successful. No one is saying that it will be easy. In fact, the push is going to be an extremely difficult one. Still, digital rights advocates aren’t exactly giving up hope yet even when there is only a remote chance to preserve free speech in Europe.

It’s worth pointing out that the implications of these efforts could easily extend well outside of the German borders. Already, corporate interests and lobbyists have hailed the fight to kill the open Internet in Europe a success. At this point, some are even going so far as to try and use Europe as a springboard to other countries like the United States and Canada to push for open Internet killing laws. If Europe somehow manages to pull back from the digital brink, it will no doubt make those efforts much more difficult.

One thing is for sure, Germany isn’t exactly giving up hope yet.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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