"Europe must protect freedom of expression and press following the example of Iceland" said Marietje Schaake (D66, NL) during today's ALDE seminar on " Censorship and Self censorship" hosted with Alexander Lambsdorff (FDP, DE) which looked at challenges to freedom of expression, with a special focus on the role the internet plays and with the aim to be informed, and inspired by good practices, to be alerted to worst cases, and to consequently look at concrete ways to make Europe a safe haven for the free word, also online.
"Freedom of expression is under threat in Europe, which instead should be a model for the rest of the world. How can we credibly speak about a lack of freedom of expression in China or Iran if we don't apply the highest standards ourselves? Journalists, cartoonists, but also scientists are increasingly censored, or apply self-censorship, and in worst cases, individuals are not able to live in freedom after expressing certain opinions. This is unacceptable and that's why we should learn from Iceland where the most protective draft legislation for whistleblowers, confidential sources of journalists and libel-tourism prevention is being prepared." Schaake added"No person should be afraid of the consequences when they freely express themselves. That would be contrary to European values we believe in and protect. ALDE defends the right to offend which is an essential part of freedom of expression, and we will stand with those who come under pressure to freely express their views, be they political, artistic or otherwise." said Alexander Lambsdorff Note to the editor: Main speakers of the ALDE seminar were: Lars Vilks, Artist, Flemming Rose, Jyllands-Posten editor, Naema Tahir Dutch author, Professor Alistair Mullis, UK Defamation Law expert, Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and Birgitta Jonsdottir, member of the Icelandic Parliament and rapporteur of the draft legislation in Iceland.