Tech giants can t be judges of publicity

Freedom of expression must be guaranteed online and technology giants cannot be allowed to arbitrarily restrict it in pursuit of their own interests, said Balazs Hidveghi, an MEP of Hungary s ruling Fidesz party, after the European Parliament s plenary debate on democratic control of social media and free speech.

POLITICS FEBRUARY 11. 2021 13:42

On Wednesday afternoon, members of the European Parliament held a debate on the democratic control of social media giants.The immediate reason for putting the topic on the agenda was the arbitrary blocking of former US President Donald Trump s Facebook and Twitter accounts in January, but the transparency and controllability of social media platforms has long been an important topic of discussion in Brussels.

In his speech Balazs Hidveghi, an MEP of Hungary s ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat party alliance, pointed out that social media platforms are no longer simply social networks, but online interfaces that affect every aspect of our lives. „A significant portion of expressing our political views and opinions now takes place online, therefore it s necessary to ensure that freedom of expression also prevails on the internet,” Mr Hidveghi added.

According to the MEP, if laws exist to democratically regulate the functioning of both the written and electronic press, they are also needed for social media platforms. „There is a need for regulations that hold big tech giants accountable to operating legally, transparently and verifiably, and do not allow them to arbitrarily restrict the freedom of any of us based on their own interests,” the European People s Party politician said.

In his written statement Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) member Erno Schaller-Baross underlined that operation with transparency, upholding rule of law and ensuring political neutrality are shared fundamental principles that must be enforced in the digital space. He added that these common goals can only be achieved with the involvement of member states.

Mr Hidveghi notes that this is an issue on which the majority of MEPs agree, regardless of political affiliation. „In the meantime Anna Donath, an MEP of Hungary s left-wing Momentum party, has repeatedly revealed that she suffers from pathological Orban-derangement syndrome (…) she is perpetually envisioning fictitious horrors and mentioned Orban censorship in her speech on numerous occasions,” Mr Hidveghi said in a statement. „It is a sorry sight to see the desperate mental state of the Hungarian left, whose position on any issue is determined solely by their hatred of Viktor Orban,” Mr Hidveghi concluded.



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