Since late 2016 Freedom of Expression is more and more under threat: Since then especially under the pretext of „Fake-News“ and „Hate-Speech“ sceptical opinions are impeded being published and spreaded, especially in social online-networks.
Nevertheless – and totally incomprehensible to me – there is not a lot of ignorance by ordinary citizens about these dangerous developments, but also by critics of the political-system as well.
So 2017 we wanted to set an example with our admonishing-fire and turn these people‘s attention on the importance of Freedom of Expression and it‘s current imminence. Sadly we have totally missed this goal, it was a flop and the ignorance went on. Because we can‘t accept that, we in Vienna have devoted the „Fire in the Alps“ 2018 to attention for the topic of 2017, Freedom of Expression.
This by all means has to change! Ignorance is fatal! Just from 2017 to 2018 there have been several signicant changes about the situation of Freedom of Expression in the Western countries – changes into a negative direction, so deteriorations:
More and more online-users, especially users in social-networks, are effected by covert censorship by the operators like QFD and Shadow-Ban.
And in the most recent past this factual censorship with increasing frequency takes place not covert, but overt:
The probably most prominent case currently are the bans of the rightist moderator Alex Jones and other Conservatives and Libertarians from big social-media-plattforms.
Other remarkable examples include Green former US-presidental-candidate Cynthia McKinney being threaten to be banned by Facebook or German Pirate-Party MEP Julia Reda, whose statement about censoring search-engines was censored by Google.
So this should make it obvious, that censorship – wether it may take place offical by states or concealed by private organisations (having close ties to the deep-state) – does not have an ideological badge. Everybody – Rightists, Leftists and others – can be effected and my examples show, that people of very different ideologies still are effected.
So I entrust to everybody being ignorant about the threats to Freedom of Expression or thinking, that to those censorships happens this may even be right, the famous quote by Martin Niemöller:
"When the Nazis confined the Communists, I remained silent; I was not a Communist. When they locked up the social Democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social Democrat. When they took the trade-unionists, I kept quiet, I wasn't a trade-unionist. When they took me, there was no one left, who was able to protest."
So let‘s develop and raise awareness of the importance of freedom of Expression and its current threats.
Let us use freedom of expression in practice by expressing our opinion, frankly, bluntly, but always with responsibly and with respect to others.
And let's already find existing digital communication channels that bypass the limitations of major Internet corporations, such as E-Mail, RSS or alternative social-networks, and let‘s continuously search for new communication-channels.
Though after 2017 also in 2018 our action was kept under wraps by media, mainstream-media as well as alternative-media, there is positive indication for creating awareness for the importance of Freedoom of Expresion – especially at scepticists and critics of the current political conditions.
The open letter (in German) to these people still has created some results. And also response on our articles on this issue in 2018 is a lot better than last year.
So, there is reason for being cautiously optimistic, that people have got the point and turn their attention on Freedom of Expression, to defend are restore democracy and freedom as a whole!
Since 1988 on every 2nd Saturday in August in the whole Alpine-region the initiative "Feuer in den Alpen" (Fire in the Alps) takes place. With admonishing-fires the organizers point on a specific issue, that's important to them.
- Official website of the whole event "Feuer in den Alpen", operated by the organisation CIPRA from Switzerland:
http://www.feuerindenalpen.com/ (English information availlable)
- Website of the organisers of the "Feuer in den Alpen" Vienna, the "Plattform Direkte Demokratie" (plattform direct-democracy) Wien
http://demokratie-plattform.at (German website)