Anachronisms by Law

In an ongoing effort to combat online hate speech, the German Minister of Justice recently announced to examine the re-introduction of section 88a of the German Penal Code. This law sanctioned the ‘anti-constitutional endorsement of crime’ and was only in force during a brief period between 1976 and 1981. It was supposed to counteract the spread of aggressive opinions and calls for violence. While politicians today are struggling with the issue of harmful online speech, one should refrain from re-introducing a law that was not only controversial back then but also ineffective. Apart from that, resurrecting the law in today’s digital world raises numerous questions.

Continue Reading →

Die Follower, die ich rief …

Die Regierung und einzelne ihrer Mitglieder nutzen – wie andere politische Akteure auch – die sozialen Netzwerke zur Öffentlichkeitsarbeit. Sie moderieren ihre Social Media-Auftritte, löschen fragwürdige Beiträge auf ihren Facebook-Seiten und „blockieren“ unliebsame Kritiker auf Twitter. Die Betroffenen empfinden das regelmäßig nicht nur als unfreundlichen Akt, sondern als Beeinträchtigung ihrer Grundrechte. Doch welche grundrechtlichen Bindungen bestehen hier überhaupt?

Continue Reading →

A Ministry of Truth in Singapore? Reflections on the Anti-Fake News Bill

On 1 April, the government of Singapore introduced the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill. Often referred to as the Singaporean anti-fake news law, it is expected to be enacted with a few changes in the coming weeks or months. A closer look at the bill’s context, its most powerful elements and its possible regional impact as a model for legislation in other countries reveals that it is most likely to have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

Continue Reading →