Is Ireland trying to resurrect the draconian Penal Laws? As a hate speech bill in Ireland moves closer to becoming law, pro-free speech Americans slammed the bill as a dangerous attack on free speech, both online and offline.
Ireland’s Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences bill passed the seventh stage necessary to become law at the end of April, according to an Irish government website. Donald Trump Jr. and Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to social media to slam the radical bill, which could send people to jail for up to five years if convicted of “hate speech,” a vaguely defined and ever changing classification. Twitter Files journalist and Big Tech critic Michael Shellenberger also commented. The bill specifically amends the Broadcasting Act 2009 concerning “online content” that is supposedly “likely to incite violence or hatred against persons” or “condones, denies or grossly trivialises genocide, etc.” The bill also mentions “material available on a platform.”
Independent writer Keith Woods tweeted a screenshot April 28 of part of the Irish hate speech bill with the comment, “Ireland is about to pass one of the most radical hate speech bills yet. Merely possessing ‘hateful’ material on your devices is enough to face prison time.” The bill would allow the conviction of anyone who “prepares or possesses material that is likely to incite violence or hatred.” [Emphasis added] It also presumes a person is guilty till proven innocent: “the person shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have been in possession of the material” described. No wonder Musk called this a “massive attack” on free speech.
Woods added, “Not only that, but the burden of proof is shifted to the accused, who is expected to prove they didn't intend to use the material to ‘spread hate’. This clause is so radical that even the Trotskyist People Before Profit opposed it as a flagrant violation of civil liberties. Dark times.” Dark times indeed.
Musk replied to Woods’ tweet, “This is a massive attack against freedom of speech.” Donald Trump Jr, meanwhile, quote tweeted Woods with the comment, “It’s insane what’s happening in the ‘free world’.”
Shellenberger quote tweeted a video of an Irish politician with the comment, “70% of the people who participated in Ireland’s ‘public consultation’ rejected the government’s proposal to criminalize speech. Why, then, is the government still demanding a crackdown? Its representative can’t explain. Why are so many governments embracing totalitarianism?” The Post Millennial’s Editor-in-Chief Libby Emmons shared a piece about the Irish bill with the comment, “Fascism rising.”
The radical bill explicitly protects individuals based on “gender” and “sexual orientation,” meaning that, in future, Irishmen could be “criminals” for affirming basic biology. The disturbing bill comes a year after Ireland was slammed by leftists for not being a “super regulator” of Big Tech.
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