EU Commissioner Makes Online Censorship Key Campaign Pledge

May 22nd, 2024 11:03 AM

The president of the European Commission is openly advertising her commitment to censoring speech as part of her re-election campaign, touting a “European Democracy Shield.”

The European Union (EU) has an anti-free speech record, and that’s a reality of which European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen seems to be very proud. In a new ad, von der Leyen brags about her dedication to censoring alleged “disinformation,” supposedly to safeguard “democracy.” Would-be censors often label any opinion with which they disagree as “disinformation.” Von der Leyen appears to be no different. She has vowed to work to “remove content” and “pre-bunk” online speech.

Von der Leyen posted an anti-free speech adon X (formerly Twitter) May 20. “Europe must be able to defend itself - against all kinds of attacks. I will propose a European Democracy Shield,” the incumbent president and candidate posted. “To detect disinformation and malign interference To remove content, including AI deepfakes[.] To make our societies more resilient.”

Von der Leyen’s censorship commitment was repeated in the ad as well.

“The threat of disinformation and foreign interference is more serious than ever,” the ad begins. Von der Leyen was then shown saying, “The aim of all this is to divide our societies from within.” The ad continued, “The enemies of our democracies are manipulating information to sow division. So we must step up our action with a European Democracy Shield.”

In the ad, Von der Leyen detailed what this new “Democracy Shield” will entail: “An ambitious European project that focuses on the biggest threats from foreign interference and manipulation.” But this apparently involves Big Tech-government coordination to target online speech. As explained in the ad, “This new structure will track down information manipulation and coordinate with national agencies. The shield will detect foreign interference, remove content, with a stronger approach to AI deepfakes, and finally pre-bunk and build resilience.”

But we have seen such partnerships’ dystopian effects before. The content removal and “pre-bunking” are particularly concerning for free speech in light of previous EU policies such as the Digital Services Act (DSA), which undermines freedom of speech. Here in America, government agencies and private researchers coordinated with Big Tech to censor content before, during and after elections in the Election Integrity Partnership.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using MRC Free Speech America’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.