Chancellor Angela Merkel attacks free speech in address before German parliament

Chancellor Angela Merkel attacks free speech in address before German parliament

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned about the dangers of free speech during a recent speech before the German parliament.

Her remarks: In what the German news outlet DW Politics described as an "unusually emotional" speech, Merkel made a distinction between “extreme speech” and free speech, arguing that without opposing extreme speech, “our society will no longer be the free society that it was,” Townhall reported.

“We have freedom of expression in our country,” Merkel told the Bundestag. “For all those who claim that they can no longer express their opinion, I say to them: If you express a pronounced opinion, you must live with the fact that you will be contradicted. Expressing an opinion does not come at zero cost.”

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“But freedom of expression has its limits,” Merkel added. “Those limits begin where hatred is spread. They begin where the dignity of other people is violated. This house will and must oppose extreme speech. Otherwise, our society will no longer be the free society that it was.”

Last year, Germany implemented a strict ban against online "hate speech." Sites who fail to remove hateful content are liable to hefty fines of up to $55 million.

Reactions: Merkel's impassioned remarks prompted a heated online debate on the issue of freedom of expression, with some condemning the Chancellor's government as "authoritarian" over its rampant control of public opinion.

"Yet again Germans are applauding state supervision of public opinion and an authoritarian regime. Here's what Merkel should understand," tweeted one user, along with a picture and quote from Hitler propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

Hey .... visit CNN sometime and ask yourself, “Would this be any different if it were produced by the Democratic party?” #DontTrustTheMedia

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