Expressing your own opinion always has an ugly side. It is currently convenient for the media to forget that.
Amazing, but true: propaganda and targeted false information have not only existed since the invention of Facebook and Twitter. Rather, these means have always been used to justify wars, justify acts of violence and incite hatred of certain sections of the population.
Incidentally, not only from the government, but also from resistance groups. What is called “fake news” today has claimed millions of lives. The struggle for freedom of expression is not the same as the struggle for pure truth. Freedom of expression always has an ugly side.
Does anyone believe that the parents of the Basic Law of all things with their biographical experiences in the Weimar Republic and in the Third Reich needed tutoring in this regard? They, just them, knew the dangers. And yet wrote the wonderful sentence in Article 5: "There is no censorship."
Censorship is a government measure, contrary to a common misunderstanding. If a newspaper does not publish a letter to the editor, it has nothing to do with censorship. In the age of social media, however, these borders threaten to blur. In 2017, the then Minister of Justice Heiko Maas ensured that the “Network Enforcement Act"- Vulgo: Facebook law – was passed by the Bundestag. Social media can face heavy fines if it does not remove or block illegal content within a certain period of time.
You can say nonsense
At that time, experts and associations warned of an attack on freedom of expression. Among other things, the transfer of sovereign tasks to private companies and the fact that the distinction between illegal and permitted content is no longer a matter for the courts, but rather social media, was criticized. The law only deals with illegal content, i.e. calls for violence and other forms of hate crime. Not about spreading bullshit. It is covered by the fundamental right to freedom of expression.
Anyone who is vegan or organic is actually reasonable. This was the thought until Attila Hildmann and Rapunzel boss, Joseph Wilhelm, opened their mouths. We took a closer look at the connection between healthy eating and crude ideology – in the taz on the weekend of 23/24. May. Also: Interview with the actress Sandra Hüller. And: A short story about daily family madness during the Corona period. Always from Saturday at the kiosk, in eKiosk or in practice Weekend subscription. And around the clock at Facebook and Twitter.
As I said: First in 2017. A felt eternity. Today, my industry shrugs when respected people call for false information to be prohibited. Wrong information? What exactly does this mean? If someone declares that the corona virus does not exist, I think that this is clear misinformation. But it is not forbidden to say that. Spreading nonsense is not forbidden. One can say that the moon is made of cheese. I find it depressing that this must now be remembered.
In recent weeks, it has repeatedly been pointed out that journalists are generally not virologists and should therefore not presume to pretend to have specialist knowledge that they do not have. The reminder is justified. However, it is also true that doctors are usually not journalists or media scientists. It is understandable that fake news related to the coronavirus causes them to pass out in anger and that they want to eradicate them.
By the way, they can also say that. Such a position is also covered by freedom of expression. But there are people who are particularly called to be guardians of certain fundamental rights. It would be nice if the media industry felt responsible for Article 5. This does not currently seem to be the case. I find that at least as threatening as the belief of a small minority in the existence of reptiles.