Will Ireland pass a bill that would ban ‘offensive’ memes?

Alex Sheridan told Ezra Levant about the anti-free speech bill that would criminalize insults and even the possession of digital assets such as memes or online jokes.

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This is just an excerpt from The Ezra Levant Show. To see new, ad-free episodes, which air Monday - Friday @ 8 p.m. ET | 6 p.m. MT, become a subscriber to RebelNews+. This episode originally aired on June 27, 2023.

On last night’s episode of The Ezra Levant Show, Ezra was joined by Alex Sheridan of Free Speech Ireland to talk about how freedom of speech is under attack in his country.

Ezra asked him about a bill that’s before the Irish parliament right now, that would ban hurt feelings, insults and even the possession of some digital assets such as memes or emails and online jokes.

Alex further explained the bill:

No, it's actually probably one of the most draconian hate speech bills which have been proposed yet within Europe or indeed the West. This new hate speech legislation will even criminal, criminalize the mere possession of hateful content. This could be a meme on your phone. This could be a book that you have in your house. This could be even a message or a diary that you were writing to yourself. And even if you do not communicate any of these ideas or material or talk to anyone, you can still be prosecuted and imprisoned for up to two years and the onus will be on yourself to prove that you have no intention to spread or communicate that material.

It's, it even goes even a step further than that. So it deals a lot with a thing called incitement to hatred. And one section of the bill also says that even if you were successful in inciting hatred or not, you are still guilty of an offence. So you could say something, you may not mean it, you may offend nobody. But the fact that you said it, you can still be prosecuted.

Ezra asked Alex if the truth could be used as a defence, since many times the truth may be hurtful and insulting. He answered:

Well, the onus will be on you. So truth can be a defence just so long as they accept that you are telling the truth. So for example, how are you meant to explain to somebody that you had no intention to communicate that idea?

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