Clicky

Irish Leader Leo Varadkar Claims He “Believes in Free Speech” Then Demands X Censorship, Censorship Laws

Ireland's government is plotting to increase its censorship power.

Tired of censorship and surveillance?

Defend free speech and individual liberty online. Push back against Big Tech and media gatekeepers. Subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

The Irish leader is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has proclaimed his belief in the sanctity of free speech, while simultaneously advocating for “limitations and standards” in its expression. This call comes as he urges a more stringent censorship approach from X.

Varadkar, with a tone of resolute determination, has vowed a significant shift in the digital landscape, particularly for X, which he described as a “sewer” in the realm of social media. His critique centers on what he perceives as the platform’s inadequate management of allegedly “harmful” content.

This stance emerges amidst a broader governmental consensus. Several ministers have conveyed to The Sunday Times their intention to empower the Coimisiún na Meán, the online watchdog, with robust capabilities to combat misinformation starting in 2024.

“Despite what other people may say, I am actually somebody who believes in free speech but there have to be limitations and standards. I don’t believe that Twitter, or X, implements its own community standards.

“Other social media platforms do, and I think if you’re not even able to live up to your own standards it doesn’t reflect very well on any organization. The government does have a role to play.”

Varadkar added: “We said very clearly a year or two ago that the era of self-regulation was over. We have laws and they’re European laws. We have an online safety commissioner now and we have Coimisiún na Meán, and I think things are going to change.”

In a scenario where compliance falters with the censorship demands, X and similar platforms could find themselves grappling with punitive fines — a staggering €20 ($22) million or 10% of their annual revenue. This is in line with the new safety codes set to be unveiled by the online media regulator in February.

Varadkar, targeting the platform’s post-Musk ownership period, condemned its alleged failure to adhere to its own community standards. He asserted, “Twitter, as it used to be called, has always been a bit of a sewer as far as social media goes. Despite what other people may say, I am actually somebody who believes in free speech but there have to be limitations and standards. I don’t believe that Twitter, or X, implements its own community standards. Other social media platforms do, and I think if you’re not even able to live up to your own standards it doesn’t reflect very well on any organization. The government does have a role to play.”

Varadkar further emphasized that the era of self-regulation for these platforms is conclusively over, referencing the advent of European laws and the establishment of an online safety commissioner.

If you're tired of censorship and dystopian threats against civil liberties, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Tired of censorship and surveillance?

Defend free speech and individual liberty online. Push back against Big Tech and media gatekeepers. Subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Read more

Share