Twitter Suspends Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) in the Netherlands, was suspended by Twitter for tweeting impermissible things about immigration. It was only for a day, but still…

There is a longer video in the pipeline that shows the debate in the Dutch parliament about what happened to Mr. Wilders.

Many thanks to C for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   Mr Wilders, you spent a day without Twitter, how was that?
00:03   Well, that was terrible, of course. Because I sent out a tweet
00:07   about colleagues from D66 [progressives].
00:10   A very civilized tweet, in which I spoke out against anti-Semitism, FGM and discrimination.
00:19   which ended in my being banned from Twitter.
00:23   Temporarily, but accompanied by the threat that next time it will be permanent.
00:28   so this is a restriction of the freedom of speech, 100%,
00:32   and that’s — today it’s me, tomorrow it’s you, or colleagues from other parties, so it’s something
00:36   that is completely unacceptable.
00:39   Unacceptable? But it’s a sort of club, you’re a member and there are rules.
00:44   So there’s little that can be done about it. —Yes, maybe, but still…
00:48   By the way, I objected, I received a rejection immediately.
00:52   Also, every tweet of mine, every tweet I send out is flagged by dozens of people.
01:00   That’s a kind of… it’s from the Left, or some other group
01:04   that bears ill will towards me or the PVV.
01:07   Every one of my tweets, whether it’s about Santa Claus or politics, is immediately “rewarded”
01:14   with dozens of complaints. I receive messages from Twitter about every one of my tweets.
01:20   saying there were complaints. Fortunately they are mostly rejected, but not this time.
01:24   So it’s a tactic by opponents to silence people like me, to object to everything.
01:30   and if it works a few times, they’ve banned somebody from Twitter. That’s their goal.
01:34   it has nothing to do with freedom of speech, it’s purely politically motivated.
01:38   which is obviously undesirable, whether it’s a club or not. —But what do you want to do about it?
01:42   Can you do something about it? There are no legal options. Well, making a lot of noise,
01:47   raising awareness. Fortunately many people spoke out, both friend and foe.
01:52   Unfortunately. national politicians were mostly quiet, but otherwise many people protested.
01:57   A question by the VVD about this matter was rejected today.
02:00   Of course it’s remarkable that this happens to an MP, just somebody who voices his opinion,
02:07   who is already restricted in his movements, is also blocked on Twitter like this.
02:13   So, I’d really like to know what the rules are that you mentioned,
02:16   and what the minister’s perspective is on this.
02:19   Twitter’s house rules. They’re clearly stated in the terms of service.
02:23   Well, I haven’t seen them yet, so the questions
02:27   I wanted to ask this afternoon, I’ll write them down,
02:30   submit them to the minister digitally, and we’ll soon have a conversation about them.
02:33   Yes, that’s unfortunate. I hoped the Speaker would have allowed the question,
02:38   which would have sent a message, that in parliament,
02:42   political parties, whether you agree with them or not,
02:45   feel that freedom of expression is of paramount importance. Today we’ve seen
02:49   a report from the Council of Europe which expresses
02:53   the desire to silence politicians who object to multiculturalism.
02:58   That’s a consequence of the Marrakesh pact.
03:01   Yes, well, whatever the reason is, we have to voice dissent.
03:05   Whether you agree or not, whether it’s Twitter or whatever,
03:08   freedom of expression is paramount and nobody can take that away from us.
 

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