Calls For Social Media To Be Censored In Spain After Politician's Assassination Is Mocked On Twitter
from the beyond-libel dept
As Mike has noted, after starting out with some of the most reasonable copyright laws around, Spain came under some serious pressure from the US to replace them with ones that make the online environment there a far less innovative and pleasant place for users. Now it seems that recent unfortunate events could push the country even further in this direction. Global Voices explains the background:
Isabel Carrasco, a member of the People's Party, was shot near her home in León, allegedly by the mother of a fellow party member who blamed Carrasco for truncating the political career of her daughter. Carrasco became famous a few years ago for occupying 13 positions in the administration and private businesses. In 2011, it was revealed that she had increased her salary by 13 percent, but this did not prevent her from justifying budget cuts in 2012, saying that "Everything little thing can't be free".
Not surprisingly, perhaps, her assassination produced mixed reactions from people:
Shortly after learning about her death, many Internet users started to leave comments on social media, especially Twitter. Although the majority expressed their condolences to the family of the victim, there were some that took advantage of the moment to openly criticize the politician, including mocking her assassination
The Global Voices post has a selection of these, with translations, if you want the details. Suffice to say that they were enough to lead to a typical over-reaction by politicians. Here, for example, is the Spanish Minister of Interior, Jorge Fenández Díaz:
We have to combat cybercrime and promote cybersecurity, and to clean up undesirable social media.
Others added their support. The health spokesperson for the PSOE [Spanish Workers' Socialist Party], José Martínez Olmos, made the following comment:
It seems to me that the moment has come to regulate social media because not everything is suitable and less so when it incites violence or denigrates people or institutions.
The Federal Union of Politics went even further in its rhetoric:
It is necessary and urgent to regulate new criminal methods that go beyond libel and slander, and criminalize the violence executed en masse through the Internet.
Of course, Spain is not the only country where there's a public debate about the limits of free speech in the online world. But at a time when new laws are already restricting what can be done on the Internet in Spain, it's worrying to hear calls for even more clampdowns.