Comment: The EU is one of the staunchest and most vocal advocates of free speech on the planet. Right? The following are excerpts from a recent article by Liat Clark of

Charlie Hebdo Kopp Online
© Kopp Online
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris, EU ministers have issued a joint statement calling for ISPs to help to report and remove extremist material online.

The statement was signed by interior ministers from 11 European countries -- including the UK's Theresa May -- on 11 January, with French ministers and security representatives from the US, Canada and EU in attendance. It called for tighter internet surveillance and border controls.

The letter stated that "the increasingly frequent use of the internet to fuel hatred and violence" was of great concern, and that European nations were steadfast in their "determination to ensure that the internet is not abused to this end, while safeguarding that it remains, in scrupulous observance of fundamental freedoms, a forum for free expression, in full respect of the law".

Comment: Is that even possible? It sounds like they're saying, "We will ensure freedom of speech by taking away that freedom when we see fit." Is this just a case of Dunning-Kruger effect, or something more sinister? Because it seems that certain incitements to terrorism are fine, as long as they're published in the mainstream news, but others are not.

It argued that a partnership of major ISPs was "essential to create the conditions of a swift reporting of material that aims to incite hatred and terror and the condition of its removing, where appropriate/possible". This would be in an effort "to prevent and detect radicalisation in an early stage".

In March 2014, the UK's minister for immigration and security alluded to the need for similarly vast internet controls that would give the government details on material "that may not be illegal but certainly is unsavoury and may not be the sort of material that people would want to see or receive" -- namely terrorist propaganda.

The ministers also took the opportunity to reaffirm an "unfailing attachment to the freedom of expression, to human rights, to pluralism, to democracy, to tolerance and to the rule of law".

"By attacking Charlie Hebdo, police officers and Jewish community, the terrorists set out to tear down these universal values. They will not succeed," the letter argued.

Comment: It sounds like they're succeeding just fine: with the help of ministers like the ones responsible for this proposal.

Read the full article here.