Swedish Populists Call for Poland-Style Guarantee of Free Speech on Social Media

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - SEPTEMBER 10: Jimmie Akesson, leader of the Sweden Democrats party, arrives at the Swedish Parliament House for the opening of the new parliamentary session on September 10, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images)
Michael Campanella/Getty Images

The populist Sweden Democrats have demanded the government draft legislation to ensure freedom of speech on the internet and fight big tech censorship.

Four members of the party, including its leader Jimmie Åkesson, called on the government to convene with other parties in the Swedish parliament to create a committee to draft legislation to guarantee free speech online.

“Only illegal content should be deleted from social media. Illegal threats, for example, are just as illegal if they occur on the internet or on the street. Suspensions or removal of content with reference to crime should be subject to review by a Swedish court,” the party said in a debate article for Dagens Nyheter.

“Legal content must be protected. In the same way that platforms are required to delete illegal content, they should have an obligation to preserve content that remains within the framework of the law and not discriminate content based on subjective values,” the party added.

The authors went on to reject the notion that opponents of big tech censorship can simply build their own platforms, saying: “Old-fashioned labour movements probably did not want to hear ‘build your own square’ when they campaigned for workers’ conditions or universal and equal suffrage. Democracy risks being eroded when American companies reject certain individuals’ opinions.”

The party also argued that tech companies should not be allowed to introduce algorithms that discriminate against certain political positions. Companies that violate rules of neutrality or delete legal speech should be subjected to government fines.

The letter comes just days after Polish government minister Sebastian Kaleta told Breitbart News that Poland was also looking at enacting laws to hand down multi-million dollar fines against tech companies that deleted legal speech and refused to restore posts or accounts.

Poland’s ally Hungary has also spoken out about tech censorship, and the Hungarian government confirmed last week that it would be introducing similar legislation.

“Digital damage inflicted deliberately out of political or ideological interests can also not occur without repercussions in Hungary anymore!” Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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