Poland Targets Social Media Platforms in Effort to Protect Free Speech; Introduces New Legislation with ‘Big Fines’ for ‘Bid Tech’ Censorship

Zbigniew Ziobro
Zbigniew Ziobro, Minister of Justice in the Law and Justice party PiS government of Poland during a weekly cabinet meeting, Warsaw, Masovia / Poland, 2007. Photo credit: ArtMediaFactory / Shutterstock.com, licensed.

POLAND – The Justice Minister of Poland, Zbigniew Ziobro, has introduced legislation which would enable internet users to file a complaint against a social media company if their platform removes content or blocks their account, unless the user posted material that specifically broke Polish law. The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Poland is one of the ministries or ‘departments’ of Polish government; it could be considered an equivalent to the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to a draft of the legislation, the bill is named the “Act for the Freedom to Express One’s Views and Obtain and Disseminate Information on the Internet” according to reports, and if adapted into law, would establish a special court for freedom of speech allowing internet users to file complaints against companies they feel removed their posts in violation of their freedom of speech.

Platforms would need to implement a mechanism for complaints to be submitted. Within 48 hours of a decision, if necessary, a user could file a petition to a court for further consideration which would be done within seven days. Tech companies who remove content illegally would face a $2.2 million fine (EUR 1.8 million).

It light of recent events, it appears the U.S. Justice Department could take a lesson in law from Polish legislators as they continue to evaluate a decision on possible reform of Section 230.

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