Pay homage to journalists

Facebook wants to protect journalists from criticism in the future as a prominent group, YouTube has again deleted videos from #allesaufdentisch and the social network LinkedIn removes a post by lawyer Jessica Hamed on the vaccination decision. In other words, unpleasant views are suppressed and a firewall is drawn around journalists whose work may of course also be subjected to public criticism. Anyone who observes these developments can only come to one conclusion: it is time for a booster vaccination in terms of democracy.

Journalists and activists are now "involuntary public figures" for Facebook – according to which the social network elevates this group to a status worthy of special protection. This was reported by the Reuters news agency.

Wait, slowly: "involuntarily"? Journalists who enter the public sphere with their contributions are supposed to be "involuntarily" public figures and therefore particularly protected from criticism on Facebook? Yes, it is – at least according to the "Facebook logic".

The US journalist Glenn Greenwald, who became known for criticizing the handling of Edward Snowden, clarified on Twitter what he thinks of the decision. Facebook responded to the campaign by removing journalists from the line of fire after journalists put pressure on Facebook with an "endless campaign" to censor more.

Removing journalists from the category of public figures means "the freedom to criticize journalists and participate in activism against their work is severely curtailed," Greenwald said on Twitter. And then the journalist becomes even clearer: "Of course, journalists are people of the public. They have chosen a profession that allows them to shape public discourse, destroy reputations, manipulate public perception, and so much more. The idea that they should now shield journalists from public criticism is deranged, but it is a twisted view that they now have Facebook."

In a snappy post, the American comedian Jimmy Dore has taken apart the decision of the billion-dollar company and comes to the conclusion that Facebook now decides what facts and news are and you can no longer defend yourself against it. Dore calls the child by name: "Censorship!"

This is, in a nutshell, the latest development in terms of Facebook and the struggle for interpretive sovereignty. The observer is faced with the question: what's next? Which group should not be criticized next? If journalists are no longer public figures, then if the madness continues, politicians will soon follow - along with their entourage of devoted scientists and parts of the cultural elite, who are very present with their views in public, but around whom a firewall will soon be built.

This protection of obviously particularly "vulnerable" groups goes hand in hand with the censorship of uncomfortable views. After YouTube has already deleted videos of the action #allesaufdentisch and the initiators have achieved a success against the deletion in court, the Internet company has struck again and deleted videos again.

And so it goes blow by blow. Over the weekend, lawyer Jessica Hamed, who is known for her corona action proceedings, published excerpts from a text that can be read under her #allsaufdentisch video. Among other things, the lawyer posted the following lines:

"The exclusion of an entire population group due to their free decision against an irreversible medical intervention, which is associated with the – albeit low – risk of significant side effects up to death, is a vaccination requirement. Because accepting exclusion from public life is obviously not an alternative, which is why the alleged option does not actually exist. In addition, the consequences of an explicitly so-called vaccination obligation are the same as those of the 2-G rule: Access and professional exercise bans. The people who do not want to be vaccinated are severely sanctioned here for their decision, because they are accused of an irrefutable danger to their fellow human beings – at once. And this despite the fact that they are completely healthy."

For LinkedIn, this was obviously too much. The platform responded by saying, "This post is only visible to you because it violates our community guidelines."

This development, outlined here only in woodcuts, should give everyone who cares about democracy something to think about. Criticism of public figures, as well as freedom of expression, are integral parts of a democratic polity. It goes without saying that all those who decisively shape public opinion with their views and statements may be subject to harsher criticism with regard to their work than the man or woman "next door" for their expressions of opinion. If Facebook sets a "precedent" and makes it legitimate to stop criticizing the work of journalists (and that's what it ultimately comes down to), then we should ask ourselves what decisions of this kind still have to do with the spirit of democracy. If LinkedIn believes that labeling a vaccination requirement as a vaccination requirement violates the "community guidelines," then all brave Democrats should quickly raise their voices in the Democratic spirit. Instead: silence. A loud, unmistakable silence.

If this practice of censorship continues, then the question must be asked what value the foundations of our democracy actually still have in practice. These foundations, such as freedom of expression, exist in practice and not only on paper, when they are breathed into life every day. Since the beginning of the pandemic, however, these structures have been deprived of life.

Many who recommend a corona vaccination to their fellow citizens and at the same time applaud the censorship practice, which is now completely out of control, are also recommended a vaccination: A booster vaccination in terms of democracy!