Worried by the rise of nationalist parties that threaten the very existence of the European Union (EU), the European Parliament (EP) has quietly amended its internal rules to enable the silencing of “racist” speech within its hallowed halls.
The rule change, which passed in December, allows the president of the EP to “interrupt the live broadcasting of” a parliamentary debate “in the case of defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior by a member.” Furthermore, it gives the president the power to “delete” said incident “from the audiovisual record of the proceedings,” consigning it to the memory hole unless a journalist happens to be present to report on it. Offenders may be fined up to $9,500.
Conveniently, the rule doesn’t define what constitutes “defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior,” leaving it to the president’s discretion, although the EP Bureau, which consists of the president and 14 vice presidents, must review the decision within four weeks.
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