Stepping up measures against dangerous terrorist online content, and EU funding of associations that violate EU values

Stepping up measures against dangerous terrorist online content, and EU funding of associations that violate EU values

On 23 October 2020, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): Fabienne Keller, Nathalie Loiseau, Stéphane Séjourné, Ilana Cicurel, Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, Laurence Farreng, Christophe Grudler, Stéphane Bijoux, Dominique Riquet, Pascal Canfin, Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Stéphanie Yon-Courtin, Valérie Hayer, Sandro Gozi and Catherine Chabaud of the Renew Europe Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:

“The attack against teacher Samuel Paty in France shows that the terrorist threat persists. Samuel Paty died for teaching a fundamental European value – that of freedom of expression.

His assassin consumed and produced illegal online terrorist content and harmful online content that circulated freely on social media, despite the code of conduct for online platforms.

Will the Commission conduct a case study in order to draw up a list of measures in the code of conduct which were not applied by the platforms in the specific case of the Conflans attack, and to highlight the limits of a code based on voluntary action on their part?

What measures does the Commission intend to include in its legislative proposal on the Digital Services Act to commit online platforms to dealing with the dissemination of illegal and harmful online content?

It also appears that the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), an association based in France, supports a form of radical Islamism that is incompatible with fundamental European values. However, the CCIF has received the support of the Commission. No EU funds should be paid, or sponsorship given, to associations that violate the fundamental values of our Union.”

On 1 February 2021, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Commission supports actions against different types of illegal content online, through various self-regulatory initiatives, which have brought important results.

With the Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online, over 90% of content notified as hate speech is reviewed within 24 hours by participating online service providers. Under the Commission-led EU Internet Forum, Member States, Europol and the industry agreed on the EU Crisis Protocol, a mechanism to contain the viral spread of terrorist and violent extremist content online, activated for instance by the French authorities in response to the Conflans attack. In addition, the recent agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on the Commission proposal for a regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online will ensure terrorist content is removed swiftly — introducing a one-hour-rule.

The Commission proposal for a Digital Services Act constitutes a comprehensive reform of the treatment of illegal content online. It includes measures setting out a clear and uniform set of due diligence obligations for online service providers to ensure safety of users online, including notice and action procedures for illegal content, redress, transparency and accountability measures as regards how they moderate content, and their algorithmic processes and content amplification.

The Commission fully agrees with the Honourable Members that the EU must ensure that organisations pursuing an illegal or extremist agenda do not gain access to funds, as recently reaffirmed also in the Counter-Terrorism Agenda.”


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