ZH: Germany has killed freedom of speech and expects the rest of the EU to do the same


For years, regular readers of this COGwriter Church of God News page have been told that internet censorship would come, and that Europe would use it.

We have seen steps in the past year or so that have confirmed this.

Now see the following report from Zero Hedge (ZH) authored by Judith Bergmann via The Gatestone Institute:

Germany: Full Censorship Now Official

October 23, 2017

A new German law introducing state censorship on social media platforms came into effect on October 1, 2017. The new law requires social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to censor their users on behalf of the German state. Social media companies are obliged to delete or block any online “criminal offenses” such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint — regardless of whether or the content is accurate or not. Social media companies receive seven days for more complicated cases. If they fail to do so, the German government can fine them up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law.

This state censorship makes free speech subject to the arbitrary decisions of corporate entities that are likely to censor more than absolutely necessary, rather than risk a crushing fine. When employees of social media companies are appointed as the state’s private thought police and given the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who shall be allowed to speak and what to say, and who shall be shut down, free speech becomes nothing more than a fairy tale. Or is that perhaps the point?

Meanwhile, the district court in Munich recently sentenced a German journalist, Michael Stürzenberger, to six months in jail for posting on his Facebook page a historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a senior Nazi official in Berlin in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of “inciting hatred towards Islam” and “denigrating Islam” by publishing the photograph. The court found Stürzenberger guilty of “disseminating the propaganda of anti-constitutional organizations”. While the mutual admiration that once existed between al-Husseini and German Nazis is an undisputed historical fact, now evidently history is being rewritten by German courts. Stürzenberger has appealed the verdict.

Germany has made no secret of its desire to see its new law copied by the rest of the EU, which already has a similar code of conduct for social media giants. The EU Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova, recently saidshe might be willing to legislate in the future if the voluntary code of conduct does not produce the desired results. She said, however, that the voluntary code was working “relatively” well, with Facebook removing 66.5% of the material they had been notified was “hateful” between December and May this year. Twitter removed 37.4%, and YouTube took action on 66% of the notifications from users.

While purportedly concerned about online “hate speech,” one EU organization, the EU Parliament, had no qualms about letting its premises be used to host a convicted Arab terrorist, Leila Khaled, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) at a conference about “The Role of Women in the Palestinian Popular Struggle” in September. (The EU, the US, Canada, and Australia, have all designated the PFLP a terrorist organization). The conference was organized by, among others, the Spanish delegation of Izquierda Unida (United Left) as part of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left bloc in the European Parliament. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-23/germany-full-censorship-now-official

Germany is not the only government working against freedom of speech and the press.

The USA (see NY Senator proposing more censorship: Can this lead to Amos’ prophesied famine of the word? and ‘California To Have Harsher Penalty For Pronoun Violations Than For Knowingly Spreading HIV’), parts of Eurasia (see Internet censorship in Eurasia, what might Donald Trump do related to the USA?), China (see China’s internet censorship drills: Another prelude to the coming famine of the word?), the UK (see Totalitarian controls getting closer–The Guardian pushing internet censorship), and Canada (see Canada celebrates its 150th, but pushes internet and biblical censorship), to name a few, have also taken steps against freedom of speech.

But here is more abut the German law:

The law is called Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz – NetzDG for short. It obliges the biggest social networks – those with more than two million German users – to take down “blatantly illegal” hate speech within 24 hours of it being reported. For material that’s less obviously violating the law, networks such as Facebook and Instagram will have seven days to consider and, if appropriate, delete posts. Failure to meet these deadlines could lead to fines of up to €50m.

Critics argue the short timeframes coupled with the potentially large fines will lead social networks to be overly cautious and delete huge amounts of content – even things that are perfectly legal. …

What counts as ‘illegal hate speech’ in Germany?

The law doesn’t actually change what’s considered hate speech in Germany. No new offences are created. The law simply cites sections of the German Criminal Code which details illegal speech online. The categories range from “forming terrorist organisations”, to the much vaguer “defamation of religions, religious and ideological associations.” …

So who is worried?

Opposition has come from a wide range of groups and politicians on both the left and right …

The group Reporters without Borders says the German law has already inspired a“draconian” new online media law in Russia. …

The German government, however, is determined to press forward with NetzDG. Gerd Billen, a State Secretary in the German Ministry of Justice, says …

Billen downplays concerns about freedom of speech, and points out that social media companies already censor content that is perfectly legal.

“There is no obligation for any private company in Germany or somewhere else in the world to guarantee freedom of speech,” he says. “To guarantee freedom of speech is something a government does but not private companies. I didn’t find any notice in the terms and conditions of Facebook that the company will respect freedom of speech. …

Opposition from social media companies

A Facebook spokesperson admitted to the BBC that they can’t rule out the possibility of legal content being deleted.

“The law is not the right way to fight hate speech online,” the spokesperson says. “It provides an incentive to delete content that is not clearly illegal and would have the effect of transferring responsibility for complex legal decisions from public authorities to private companies. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-41042266

It has been my professional experience that when companies feel that someone is auditing them or otherwise looking over their shoulder, that they often err on the side of going too far–to the detriment of people and legitimate activities.

As regular readers of this page are aware, for years I have warned that internet censorship was coming.

The idea of “defamation of religions, religious and ideological associations” being illegal speech on the internet is a threat to preaching by all real Christians.

Notice a a prophecy from Jesus:

4 … the night is coming when no one can work. (John 9:4, NKJV)

4… the night cometh, when no man can work (John 9:4 KJV)

We are getting closer to that time.

In a October 23, 1980 co-worker letter, the late WCG Pastor General Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

The Bible warns us the time is just ahead when NO MAN CAN WORK—in the Lord’s Work. We must sacrifice now as never before for this Work that we may FINISH the Work that Christ has called us to do. Pray as never before, for this Work.

The Prophet Amos was inspired to record the following:

11 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,
“That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
And from north to east;
They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord,
But shall not find it. (Amos 8:11-12)

Related to this, in a sermon on November 27, 1982 titled “U.S. of Europe is Coming,”Herbert Armstrong stated:

“Anyway this whole United States of Europe, when it goes together, is going to trigger nuclear World War III. Now let me tell you what else it’s going to do. It’s going to END OUR WORK! OUR WORK WILL BE THROUGH of getting the gospel to the world. That is, very shortly after it goes into force and effect; because they will move in such a way that it will end it. And then I’ll tell you what will happen. As you read here in Amos, the 8th chapter and verse 11 of Amos. Amos 8:11 ‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread … but of hearing the word of the LORD.’ ” (http://cog-ff.com/html/pcomments_07_04_08.html, viewed 10/03/13)

In a November 22, 1982 co-worker letter, Herbert Armstrong wrote:

… brethren and co-workers, the prophesied Great Tribulation (nuclear World War III) will start soon after the European unification. That means OUR WORK OF SPREADING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL BE FINISHED! We have not now much more time. Soon shall come a FAMINE of hearing the Word of the Lord (Amos 8:11). God says, work while it is day, for the night is coming when no man can work – in the Work of God! Nothing else is important in our lives, now, but this all-important Work of God. (http://cog-ff.com/html/pcomments_07_04_08.html, viewed 10/03/13)

So, the Bible tells of a time that will come when the word of God will not be found. And that would seem to be because it will be taken off the internet. In the 21st century, the internet is accessed by people in every country, and thus some type of internet restriction/suspension/site removal is coming.

There will be governmental restrictions related to teaching what the Bible teaches. Groups, like the Continuing Church of God, will be censored for teaching what the Bible says should be taught!

The Bible also warns that a European power would make it even worse:

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Revelation 13:11-18)

At first speech will be restricted and then improper religious worship will be forced! The time of 666 is getting closer. NOTE: Contrary to the views of Seventh-day Adventists, 666 is NOT the beast of Revelation 13:11 and is NOT the USA–for details check out the article: SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666.

As far as Germany goes, it is rising up in Europe–see ‘Undemocratic’ European Union has become a German empire and is pushing censorship.

Although many in the world do not seem to want freedom of speech when it comes to coming various matters, consider that the Bible teaches:

1 Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

Restricting legitimate religious speech is wrong, but that is the direction that Germany and many other nations in the world are moving towards.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

It is almost impossible to assist one who ” is overtaken in any trespass” if you are not allowed to speak according to the Bible as it is in the Bible where we learn what the trespasses are.

Consider, however, that Jesus said:

4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.(John 9:4)

The time to do the work is now, while we still can do it! We are seeing more and more signs that “the night is coming when no one can work.

That is part of why we in the Continuing Church of God are preparing for the ‘short work’ (Romans 9:28) and the coming ‘famine of the word.’

Philadelphian Christians want to respond to the doors that Christ opens to proclaim the gospel (2 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 16:8-9; Colossians 4:2-4) and do the work.

Philadelphia means “love of the brethren.” It is LOVE to properly teach what the Bible teaches, even if some group calls that “hate speech.”

We in the Continuing Church of God will teach and stand up for the truth (watch also the short introduction to our YouTube channel: ContinuingCOG Channel), despite realizing that the ‘famine of the word’ that the prophet Amos referred to is coming. We must do the work and persevere to the end–despite government restrictions and others who do not truly respect the Bible.


Radio News Reporter: John Hickey.