Today, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council are discussing the Draft Regulation on Terrorist Content Online (the Draft Regulation) in a political trilogue. ARTICLE 19 has closely following the debate and previously raised concerns about the Draft Regulation and made suggestions on how best to protect freedom of expression. Together with our partners EDRi, Access Now and IT-Pol, we are now sharing our recommendations on how to ensure that terrorist content removal orders are in line with fundamental rights and EU judicial cooperation principles.
We believe that the following points are essential for the Draft Regulation to be compatible with human rights standards:
- The independence of any authority issuing content removal orders must be guaranteed in the text of the Draft Regulation;
- Removal orders should be ordered by the courts or other independent bodies. Ex post facto oversight is insufficient to protect freedom of expression;
- At the very least, the European legislator should introduce a proper judicial cooperation mechanism from cross-border removal orders.
In the wake of the gruesome terrorist attacks in France, it is vital for the EU to put forward a proportionate response to the challenges of online terrorist content and one that stands up for fundamental rights and the rule of law.