European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency

Explanation of my vote on the resolution on foreign electoral interference

I have voted against the adoption of the European Parliament’s resolution on “foreign electoral interference and disinformation in national and European democratic processes”. This explains our reasons for not supporting it:

The Pirate Delegation considers foreign electoral interference a critical problem that is becoming increasingly dangerous to our democratic institutions as the basis for peace and prosperity. Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of the European Union. Particularly, media pluralism, civic education, critical thinking, protection of privacy and freedom of speech are key to defending ourselves against foreign interference.

However, our core principles of freedom of speech and the freedom of the internet are being challenged by paragraph 28 of the resolution, which calls to “close down accounts of persons engaging in illegal activities aimed at the disruption of democratic processes or at instigating hate speech”. Closing down accounts could lead to the distortion of elections by excessive censorship. Free access to information is an essential pre-requisite in countering disinformation and foreign electoral interference. Illegal content should be removed and, where applicable, prosecuted. Closing down accounts, however, would introduce a new type of sanction that could exclude citizens from communications channels needed for work, education and/or personal life. Restricting access to accounts would hamper the right to anonymous and free speech.

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