The Trump administration has refused to join other G7 countries in signing up to a “hate speech charter” which would have taken direct aim at American’s First Amendment rights.
According to Reuters:
The United States did not sign up to a charter against online hate speech at the G7 summit for legal reasons, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday after the end of the meeting.
“We formalized an agreement for the first time with several Anglo-Saxon and European platforms and with support from nearly all (G7) countries,” Macron told reporters after the summit, which was held in southwestern France.
“We had a very good discussion with the United States, which for legal reasons was not able to formalize the agreement on this point,” Macron said, adding he was hopeful it could be done in the coming weeks.
So called “hate speech” laws are more often than not designed to tackle politically incorrect opinions, rather than any actual criminal behavior.
The United Kingdom has excluded Islam critics from the country on “hate speech” grounds, and Australian liberals recently tried to exclude author Raheem Kassam from the country using similar laws.
Strict hate speech laws would necessarily infringe upon the First Amendment rights of ordinary Americans, and would likely fail the constitutional test in a Supreme Court hearing.
French president Emmanuel Macron has been directly pressuring private companies to sign up to his government censorship charter. Reuters also reported:
France, which is hosting the G7 summit in Biarritz, was initially hoping to make social media giants sign a so-called “Charter for an Open, Free, and Safe Internet” on Friday, according to the official program.
However, the ceremony did not take place and Europe 1 radio said U.S. President Donald Trump had put pressure on the platforms’ chief executives not to sign the pledge publicly. Washington later denied any such pressure.
France’s junior minister for the digital industry said on Saturday the signing had only been delayed and would take place on Monday.
“The initial idea was to make the platforms come to Biarritz and until now, the United States was against the signature of this pledge,” Cedric O told reporters.
“Diplomatically, it was sensitive to make U.S. platforms come to Biarritz and sign something while the American president wasn’t there,” he said, adding that Google, Facebook and Snapchat were among the platforms due to sign the charter.
“There’s no doubt on the fact that the social networks will sign the pledge,” Cedric O said.
In Washington, however, a senior Trump administration official said the U.S. government did not have a position on the initiative and had not pressed U.S. companies not to sign.
In fact, the opposite had occurred, the official said.
“There certainly was no pressure from us,” the official told Reuters. “We heard from a couple of companies that they felt bullied by France to join.”