Politicians condemn ‘Big Tech’ Trump ban
Big Tech is “one of the threats” to democracy
Leaders from around the globe condemned Twitter and Facebook for censoring President Trump after the Capitol building riot in January.
Even those who denounce Trump see the ‘Big Tech’ move as an attack on democracy.
German chancellor Angela Merkel called Twitter’s permanent ban on Trump a breach of the “fundamental right to free speech”. She believes governments should follow Germany’s lead in devising laws against online incitement, rather than leaving social media platforms to take power into their own hands.
Faithwire reports that French Junior Minister Clement Beaune was “shocked” by the censorship. He argued: “This should be decided by citizens, not by a CEO. There needs to be public regulation of big, online platforms.”
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said the state should regulate the internet, not “the digital oligarchy”, and that Big Tech is “one of the threats” to democracy.
Mexican President Andrés Obrador – no friend of Trump – mocked Twitter and Facebook as “the judge of the Holy Inquisition” and asked: “Where is the regulation? … This is an issue of government. This is not an issue for private companies.”
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called the ban “an unacceptable act of censorship… Don’t tell me he was banned for violating Twitter rules. I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone.”
“Why don’t Twitter’s community standards apply to the Ayatollah?”
Meanwhile, a right-wing alternative to Twitter called Parler has been suspended from Amazon’s hosting service and by Apple and Google, allegedly for allowing users to incite violence. Parler describes itself as a free speech platform promoting equality and religious freedom. Parler CEO John Matze said: “This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place.”
Conservatives point out that leftist organisations and extremist regimes have posted threats of violence on Twitter, yet Twitter took no action. Writing in Christianity magazine, David Robertson said: “The tech companies state Trump and Parler were both banned because they do not meet ‘community standards’. And yet Ayatollah Khamenei is still allowed to tweet ‘Israel is a malignant cancerous tumour in the West Asia region that has to be removed and eradicated… it will happen.’ Why don’t these ‘community standards’ apply to him?”
California churches turn ‘strip clubs’ to stay open
Various US states have imposed bans on churches meeting physically for worship during the pandemic, but Californian churches have taken defiance of the measures to a new level.
The Christian Post reports that two California megachurch pastors have temporarily registered their churches as strip clubs. The state has closed places of worship under Covid-19 regulations, while allowing strip clubs to stay open, so the pastors of Godspeak Calvary Chapel and Awaken Church removed their ties during their services in order to qualify.
Godspeak Calvary Chapel Pastor Rob McCoy said: “It’s ridiculous to say that people are safer in a strip club than they are at church.”
Many US churches have been fined thousands of dollars and taken to court for defying bans, while secular institutions have been allowed to remain open.
EU deal “spits in the face of human rights”
An EU investment deal with China has been denounced by former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten.
International human rights think tank the Gatestone Institute claims that “European leaders have sacrificed their professed concern for human rights on the altar of financial gain.”
Soeren Kern of the Institute says: “Precisely one week after the deal was signed, China launched a massive crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong.”
The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), agreed on 30 December, was negotiated by an EU elite of Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel of the European Council. Other EU countries were not involved.
Former Hong Kong Governor Lord Patten said: “It spits in the face of human rights and shows a delusional view of the Chinese Communist Party’s trustworthiness on the international stage.”
Hungary defines marriage as heterosexual
The Hungarian Parliament has changed the country’s constitution to maintain marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
It is now expected that gay couples will not be allowed to adopt children, according to The Christian Post.
The amendment, passed by a majority of 134-45, reads: “Hungary protects the institution of marriage as the association between a man and a woman and the family as the basis for the survival of a nation.”
The Parliament also defined gender as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes”.
Amnesty Hungary condemned the new laws as homophobic and transphobic.
Norway bans transgender ‘hate speech’ – even in your home
In a worryingly authoritarian move, Norway has expanded its law against criticism of transgenderism to private comments at home.
Reuters reports that Norwegians saying anything in private that is deemed to be hate speech against transgender people are liable for a fine or a year in jail. Public comments can be penalised with a three year sentence.
Since 2016, Norwegians can legally change their gender without a medical diagnosis.
News network smears Christian charity
NBC, the oldest major radio and TV broadcaster in the US, has la-belled a Christian pro-life charity a ‘hate group’, while defending a website which has carried child porn. LifeSiteNews reports that NBC included the Ruth Institute among “anti-gay hate groups” in two reports in December. The Institute’s President, Dr Jennifer Morse, said: “NBC’s hypocrisy is sickening. While it smears the Institute and other pro-family organisations as ‘hate groups’, it defends PornHub, a major distributor of paedophilia videos.”NBC, the oldest major radio and TV broadcaster in the US, has labelled a Christian pro-life charity a ‘hate group’, while defending a website which has carried child porn.
LifeSiteNews reports that NBC included the Ruth Institute among “anti-gay hate groups” in two reports in December. The Institute’s President, Dr Jennifer Morse, said: “NBC’s hypocrisy is sickening. While it smears the Institute and other pro-family organisations as ‘hate groups’, it defends PornHub, a major distributor of paedophilia videos.”
Spain legalises euthanasia
Spain’s parliament voted in December in favour of a bill allowing assisted suicide and euthanasia.
The law applies to those suffering from incurable diseases or unbearable permanent illnesses.
Neighbouring Portugal approved similar legislation in February 2020, and assisted dying is also legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Spanish law does not currently force health workers to participate if they conscientiously object.
Irish TV sketch “Deeply offensive”
A comedy sketch has outraged Ireland’s most senior Catholic priest.
Archbishop Eamon Martin said the mock news report on New Year’s Eve was “insulting to all Catholics and Christians”.
The satirical sketch depicted God being arrested for raping a “young middle-eastern migrant” and “impregnating her against her will”.
The Archbishop condemned national broadcaster RTÉ for broadcasting something so “deeply offensive and blasphemous”. RTÉ later apologised.
News network smears Christian charity