eco on “GroKo” Grand Coalition Plans for the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG): "Enhancements Will Not Suffice!"

Since the entry into force of the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) at the beginning of the year, criticism of the law has intensified: the CSU, the FDP, Die Linke (The Left) and Die Grünen (The Greens) are calling for the new regulation to be abolished. EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has also criticized the law. The CDU/CSU and the SPD, however, remain committed to the NetzDG: When the Grand Coalition comes into being, the law is to remain in place and is to be enhanced in so far as possible.

Faced with this intent, Oliver Süme, Chairman of the eco Board, comments: "Merely enhancing this law will not suffice. The regulation is fundamentally flawed and must therefore be rejected out of hand. Already, after a very short period of time, the NetzDG has demonstrably led to over-blocking and represents a serious encroachment on freedom of expression. The law is damaging the societal process of making and forming of opinions, a process which is a cornerstone of our democracy. Germany is thus creating a national ‘island solution’ with the potential to fundamentally alter communication on the Internet!"

According to the EU Commission's third monitoring report on the deletion of hate speech, which was presented in Brussels last week, the removal rate of companies has already improved significantly – even without legislation.

“Companies are well aware of their responsibilities. As such, they should now be granted the opportunity to prove that, even without deletion deadlines and threats of fines, they are capable of a fulfilling their obligations in a scrupulous manner. A one-year moratorium, with subsequent evaluation, would be a compromise: By then, companies could demonstrate their progress without irreparable damage to freedom of expression on the Internet," says Süme.