Jan 03 2018

Germany shifts hate speech laws following Erdoğan case

Germany abolished a law against insulting foreign leaders and began enforcing a law against hate speech on social media from the beginning of 2018.

A prominent far-right politician in the country was blocked by Twitter on the first day of the new hate speech law for claiming that German police were trying to appease “barbaric, gang-raping Muslim hordes of men", English-language Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah said.

Under the law, all social media websites with more than 2 million members must remove content containing hate speech within 24 hours.

Germany also took a law banning the insulting of foreign leaders off the books, Russian-run news website Sputnik said.

“Before the lèse-majesté law was scrapped, perpetrators could face up to three years in jail,” Sputnik said.

“In 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan filed a lawsuit against German satirist Jan Böhmermann, who recited a poem on late night TV calling the Turkish leader ‘stupid, cowardly and uptight’ before joking that he watched kiddie porn and participated in bestiality.”

The satirical poem, which represented the climax of a spat between German television comedians and the Turkish government over a satirical video, led to Böhmermann’s prosecution, although charges were dropped in February 2017.

German opposition politicians came out strongly against Böhmermann’s prosecution, Sputnik said, and ultimately Germany dropped the law altogether.

 

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