Germany criticizes Facebook for fomenting xenophobia, says Europe is rich and can deal with refugees
The Berlin-based daily Tagesspiegel reported yesterday that German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said Facebook is not acting strongly enough against users who disseminate hatred of refugees through the social networking site. Maas has contacted the leadership of Facebook's European division and wants to discuss rectifying the situation with them.
Maas claims that Facebook itself has pledged to remove posts in which people attack others because of race, religion or nationality. "It appears, however, that these standards are not being enforced in practice, even though such statements regularly meet the definition of the crime of defamation based on nation or race," Tagesspiegel cites a letter sent by the minister to Facebook.
The Justice Minister also alleges that Facebook is applying a double standard when removing posts. The social networking site automatically removes any post featuring naked people, but racist or xenophobic posts remain accessible on Facebook even when other users warn Facebook they are there, according to the minister.
Maas emphasized that he is not interested in restricting freedom of speech. "The Internet, however, is not a space where no law whatsoever applies. It is not a space where criminally punishable statements and racist slogans can be disseminated unchecked. It is not possible to tolerate Internet users who promote racism and xenophobia, that is a poor understanding of the principle of tolerance," he said.
The Justice Minister asked Facebook representatives for a meeting during which he would like to agree on options for resolving the situation. He believes the meeting should take place in mid-September.
Merkel says a rich Europe must take care of those who fear for their lives
Speaking at a press conference yesterday in Vienna, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her view of the news that several dozen dead refugees had been found in Austria. She also declared that the refugee crisis must be rapidly resolved through European solidarity.
"We are, naturally, all shocked by this horrible report," she said. "It reminds us that we must rapidly resolve the immigration problem in a European spirit, which means in the spirit of solidarity."
Merkel also said the EU is obliged to aid warring parties with finding peace and must also take care of people who fear for their lives. "I am firmly convinced that Europe is a wealthy continent and is in a state where it can deal with this," the Chancellor said.
In an interview last week for the ZDF station, Merkel said that while the reception of hundreds of thousands of immigrants is a big challenge for Germany, the country is not overwhelmed by the current wave of refugees. She believes that dealing with the current crisis is just another "big European project" that will demonstrate whether Europe is actually capable of coordinated action.
German politicians, of course, have been sharply criticizing the EU precisely on this matter for what they see as its insufficiently coordinated, slow response to the migration wave. "The EU's indecision [on this issue] is unbearable," declared German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller.
Other highly-placed German politicians such as Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are also criticizing the current situation, in which the entire burden of the refugee crisis is being borne by just a few Member States. Gabriel and Steinmeier are asking for the introduction of binding quotas for refugee reception, calibrated according to the options available in each country.
Müller is also asking the EU to approve a program of immediate aid worth more than EUR 10 billion through which the Member States on the EU's external borders will create emergency reception centers. Another problem he believes the EC should correct is the fact that each state takes a different approach toward refugees.
"In Germany we have proportionate humanitarian standards for [asylum-seekers'] allowances, accommodation, medical care, etc. Many EU countries have more limited standards. Dignified accommodation must be available for refugees in all EU states, not just Germany," he said.
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- Germany: Interest in Pegida declining, counter-intelligence says extremist involvement varies
- Czech-language Facebook page slanders Romani organizations as anti-Islam
- Germany: Tens of thousands march in Dresden against Pegida and hatred
- Germany: Planned residential hotels for refugees set ablaze, swastika graffiti nearby
- Facebook erases Czech hate page against Islam, other racist pages still running
- Czech Police unable to find founder of Facebook page calling for murder of "gypsies"
- One Czech Facebook page calling for the killing of "gypsies" shut down, one still open
- Romea.cz reports Facebook group "Gypsies to the Gas Chambers", Facebook sees no problem
- Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis hack e-mail and Facebook accounts of anti-racist activists and candidates
- Facebook tolerates racism disguised as humor
- Czech Republic: Five charged with promoting Nazism on Facebook
- Facebook pages of Czech MP and mayor spreading racism
- Czech youth prosecuted for promoting Nazism on Facebook
- Commentary: Czech Facebook and the Vítkov arson sentences
- Facebook group against Romanes language in Czech schools: 40 000 strong
- Czech police find assault weapons in the home of an anti-Roma Facebook page author
- Czech Refugee Facilities Administration caves in to racist invective from Bílina and will not accommodate Romani refugees from Ukraine with a private property owner
- Commentary: Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner declares her strong opposition to racially-motivated differential treatment of refugees, calls for solidarity
- ERGO Network: Roma Week 2022 at the EP was the biggest meeting yet between EU politicians and Romani representatives
- Czech capital and Government to "investigate" measures to motivate refugees from Ukraine to relocate from "overloaded" places
- Czech mayor makes openly racist statement that her town just wants "white" refugees from Ukraine, not children and women of Romani origin
- Czech Police tell public broadcaster that of more than 5 000 Romani refugees from Ukraine who have been vetted, just 150 have Hungarian passports
- Volunteers in Czech Republic's second-largest city form initiative to aid destitute, homeless Romani women from Ukraine after the city and the state have failed them
- Tomáš Ščuka: City of Brno's rhetoric toward the Romani refugees from Ukraine is shameful - are the local politicians really so shameless themselves?
- Destitute, homeless Romani refugees from Ukraine in Czech Republic's second-largest city dependent on volunteers, visit by city official and police prompts fears that children and mothers will be separated
- Emil Voráč: Institutional racism? Does the Czech Republic just want to aid a certain segment of the refugees endangered by the war on Ukraine?
- Czech civil society criticizes Brno City Hall for its treatment of refugees from Ukraine: "You're treating the Romani children and their mothers worse than dogs"
- Czech Republic setting up another refugee camp, state has yet to say how many refugees they have vetted for dual citizenship, three regions publish data showing 11 dual citizens found so far