Greece’s government is considering a controversial “ban on satirical” publications in its new censorship definition, which could cost the country billions of dollars in lost advertising revenue and tarnish the reputation of its leaders.
The new guidelines would ban all “extremist” or “extraterrestrial” content, including news articles, on social media, and ban the use of video clips and photographs in news reporting.
It would also ban the dissemination of material that does not conform to the definition of satire.
The new law, approved on Sunday by a Greek parliament committee, is the first of its kind since the country went to the polls in May to choose a new president, after four years of a technocratic coalition led by conservative Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
“The new definition will be applied to all publications that aim to express opinions and ideas without being politically biased, that are not hostile to the state or are not political in nature, but are focused on the content of the content and not on politics,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement on Monday.
The legislation would also require the government to create a “special committee” of experts to review and approve new articles and news outlets.
A parliamentary committee has been set up to review articles and publications that it believes to be “extREMIST” or which “disparage the state” and would include experts from the public prosecutor’s office and the police.
The committee would also review “unacceptable content” and review the “distribution of illegal information.”
It would be up to the new government to “proceed with the creation of such a committee,” the statement added.
The “ban” would also apply to “extradite” material and “distribute information that is harmful to the country,” the government said.
According to a study published in the European Press Association, “extra-leftist” and “extracurricular” publications account for just 1.8% of Greek online content, while “extras” (a term that includes articles and websites that focus on a single topic) account for 13.6%.
Greece’s new law will be enforced by the government’s newly created “supervisory body” that will include representatives of the police, prosecutors and the public prosecution.
The commission is set to work on draft legislation to create the new definition, but it could take up to three months to complete it.
“It’s important to note that the new law is a result of a long discussion that was held by the cabinet and parliament,” said Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, an analyst at the Center for Research on Public Policy (CPRP).
“The committee’s report will give the public a good insight into the draft law.
The prime minister and government have already promised to use the draft legislation for a new law to curb ‘extremism’.”
While the new “ban,” according to the government, will only apply to online content that “is not politically biased,” it will include “extrapolations” that “determine the existence of a danger to public order and morals”.
“It would not be possible to prohibit all extremist, violent, or other forms of political discourse,” the new regulations state.
The amendments also call for an “immediate ban” on any “extragalactic, extremist or other illegal content” that has been published or distributed since April 2018, and would require any content to be removed within six months.
The legislation will also “require the publication of an account of the author’s personal circumstances in order to identify those responsible for any such content,” according the guidelines.
The government will also require “all websites to publish their social media accounts, as well as any information that they provide regarding any social media activities of the owner or operators.”
The new “anti-extremists” legislation also allows for the creation and enforcement of “emergency legislation” for the prevention of “extrabaleast and extremist activities” that have “no legal validity”.