|Subject: The impact social media stakeholders have on European citizens and rising anti-Semitism in the wake of increasing radicalisation|
|The threat from terrorism remains strong in Europe and the Internet creates more and more opportunities to become radicalised, acting as an echo chamber for extremist beliefs and connecting like-minded individuals from across the world 24/7.
Radicals have been using stakeholders to spread their hateful messages and they manage to escape prosecution because of foreign laws. Chat rooms are created and permitted to function online accelerating radicalisation through influential digital discussions and encouragement.
Such platforms are a breeding ground for hatred and violence and often use the conflict in the Middle East as a prime argument in their preaching when asking their students to import this hatred to the streets of Europe particularly victimising the Jewish minority. We have also recently witnessed the targeting of those who work towards and defend one of Europe’s fundamental values: freedom of expression.
1. What stage is the Commission at in the negotiations process with relevant stakeholders?
2. Which Member States are implementing the EU Council Framework Decision2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008?
3. Is the Commission preparing legal measures that would compel social media stakeholders to locate their platform/hosts in the EU so that in cases of incitement to hatred and violence, those individuals can be prosecuted by the European Court of Justice or by national courts?
|Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission|
|The Commission is indeed concerned about how the Internet is being exploited to spread extremist messages contributing to radicalisation and incitement to hatred and violence. In response, the Commission is working to enhance collaboration between Member States and Internet companies. For that purpose and as set out in the European Agenda on Security(1), an EU IT Forum has been established, and convened for the first time on 3 December 2015. Initial focus will be on how to reduce accessibility to such material online and on how civil society groups can be empowered to challenge violent extremist propaganda online.
With regard to the transposition and implementation of Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on racism and xenophobia, the Commission refers to its implementation report(2), adopted in January 2014, which mentions that the Commission may consider infringement proceedings with regard to outstanding implementation gaps in the course of 2016.
Article 9(2) of the framework Decision in particular, stipulates that Member States must ensure their jurisdiction over racist hate speech extends to cases where the conduct is committed through an information system and the offender or materials hosted on that system are found within their territory.
As announced in the Digital Single Market Strategy(3) the Commission is considering options to improve the removal of illegal content from the Internet, while fully respecting citizens’ fundamental rights. To better understand stakeholders’ views the Commission has launched a public consultation on this topic.(4)