I’m Actually Old Enough to Remember Freedom of Speech


Poland Proposes $13.5 Million Fines for Tech Giants Engaging in Ideological CensorshipThe Epoch Times

Freedom of Speech

I’m actually old enough to remember when the USA, not Poland, carried the torch for freedom of speech.

We took it for granted I suppose, but Poland has much more recent experience with being told what they are not allowed to think, say or write, and they don’t like it.

Na Zdrowie, Polska!

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote the following:

I was born and raised among people for whom freedom was the most precious of values. In Poland we are so attached to freedom because we know what it is like when someone tries to limit it.

For close to 50 years we lived in a country in which censorship was practiced, in which Big Brother told us how we are meant to live and what we are meant to feel, and what we are not allowed to think, say or write. That is why we are so concerned with any attempt to limit freedom.

One of the synonyms of freedom for us Poles has always been the internet. It is the most democratic medium in history, a forum on which everyone can have a voice. It is a tool which gives everyone the opportunity to have an impact, in a way which was unknown to us even a dozen or so years ago.

The freedoms that came with the lack of regulation of the internet had numerous positive aspects. But there are also negative consequences: with time, it became dominated by huge, international corporations, wealthier and more powerful than many nations. These corporations treat our online activity merely as a source of revenue and a tool to increase their global domination. They have also introduced their own standards of political correctness, and they fight those who oppose them.

We are now increasingly faced with practices we believed were left in the past. The censoring of free speech, once the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now back, but in a new form, run by corporations, who silence those who think differently.

Discussion consists in the exchange of views, not in silencing people. We do not have to agree with what our opponents write, but we cannot forbid anyone from expressing views that do not contravene the law.

Everything which is not forbidden is allowed. Also on the internet, there is no tolerance for censorship, nor can there ever be. No tolerance for state censorship, such as the one Poland faced under communism, or the private type, which we are seeing today. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democracy – that is why we must defend it. It is not up to algorithms or the owners of huge corporations to decide what opinions are correct and which aren’t.

Poland will always stand at the guard of democratic values, including freedom of speech. The owners of social media networks cannot operate above the law. That is why we will do everything to define the frame of operations of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other similar platforms. In Poland we will regulate with appropriate national regulation. We will also suggest similar laws be passed in all of the EU.

Social media platforms have to serve us, and not the interests of their powerful owners. Everyone has the right to freedom of speech. Poland will defend that right.

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