Online censorship is a "key pillar" in preventing migrant-related terrorism, the European Commission has claimed. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)


Internet censorship ‘key’ to preventing migrant terrorism, EC says


Online censorship is a “key pillar” in preventing migrant-related terrorism, the European Commission has claimed.

The comment was made in response to a question from European People’s Party MEP Eugen Tomac, who had asked the body what it was doing to mitigate migrant-related terror posed by the latest EU refugee crisis.

“What measures are being taken by the European Commission to combat the spread of radicalisation in the European Union?” he had asked in the European Parliament in November, adding that the current conflict in Gaza had seen the radicalisation of people with migrant backgrounds reach “alarming levels”.

Responding to the query on January 24, Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson emphasised that the EC’s efforts to censor the internet would go a long way to reducing the Europe Union’s terror risk.

“Prevention of radicalisation is a key pillar of the Counter-Terrorism Agenda for the EU,” she said, describing current EU regulations as providing “a powerful tool to address the dissemination of terrorist content online preventing radicalisation and recruitment”.

“The EU Internet Forum is also supporting tech companies’ voluntary content moderation efforts of terrorist content, violent extremist and borderline content which can lead to radicalisation,” she added.

Johansson stated that the EU was ready to handle any renewed influx of refugees and that Brussels was actively working with Member States to “increase the preparedness and resilience” of the bloc.

Her comments came shortly after the European Parliament adopted an own-initiative report calling for so-called “hate speech” to be made a crime at the EU level.

Passed in Strasbourg by a margin of 276 votes in favour, the non-binding resolution has called on other EU bodies to regulate “hate speech” at the European level to tackle, in part, the “misuses of the internet”.

This includes the use of social media in “spreading and amplifying hate speech”.

“We must protect ourselves as a society and the people who are attacked, persecuted and harassed, while responding to the radical networks and extreme polarisation that provide fertile ground for behaviours that violate fundamental rights,” rapporteur Maite Pagazaurtundúa of RENEW said.

“We ask the Council to finally give the green light to the legislation against hate crime and hate speech at EU level, always in accordance with the principle of proportionality and guaranteeing citizens’ freedom of expression.”