German Censorship Policy

Many governments today want to shield their citizens from certain historical facts that they find shameful. A great example of this is the Tiananmen Square incident. While this might not be as surprising coming from China, countries in the EU like Germany also have started to censor information as well.

In February of 2010, a federal law was passed in Germany that aimed to censor child pornography from the Internet. While censorship of child pornography might be seen in positive light, the legislation that was passed requires federal investigators to main a list of any sites that have been accused of containing pornography. Furthermore, ISPs will be required to intercept those requests with a sign that reminds users that child pornography is illegal. Most individuals that voiced concern are afraid of the idea that the German government has a method of censorship in place that can be easily used to suppress other sites and prevent freedom of speech, freedom of political expression, and even freedom of access to information.

Despite the censorship, one of the key differences in Germany is that most Internet censorship occurs after state court rulings, which enable judicial review to occur prior state action. Many regions in Germany already regionally block IP addresses of websites that contain racist, xenophobic, and Nazi-related material even though it is not practiced at a national level.

The German government has also long required some companies to censor its content online. Google Germany has blocked many White Nationalist and Nazi websites. Additionally, websites that deny the existence of the holocaust have been removed from Google search results. While this is simply in compliance with Germany law, it can still be seen as a form of censorship and as a way to maintain social cohesion not only locally but also internationally.

Some Germany anti-censorship groups including Eco, Netzwerk Neue Medien, ODEM, CCC, DETR, and BBA continue to examine laws and issues of censorship with the hopes of protecting basic human rights, maintaining a free and unregulated Internet, and promoting the free exchange of information.