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Man in Denmark fined for hate speech on Facebook

A 39-year-old man from Aalborg must pay fines totalling 4,000 kroner for posting hate speech on his Facebook page in October 2017.

Man in Denmark fined for hate speech on Facebook
File photo: AP Photo/Patrick Sison/Ritzau Scanpix

The man was found to have written “macabre and threatening words against Muslims”, local media Nordjyske reports.

The man denied having broken the law but admitted the writing the post, the court heard.

He said that the words were intended as part of a poem and should be considered a cultural input.

But Aalborg District Court found that the 39-year-old made threats of violence against Muslims, judging him guilty of breaching article 266b in Denmark’s criminal law code, also known as the 'racism clause'.

The punishment is ten fines totalling 4,000 kroner, which is too low a sentence to qualify for the right to appeal.

He will nonetheless consider applying to Denmark’s Appeals Permission Board (Procesbevillingsnævnet) for special dispensation to appeal against the ruling, his defence lawyer Dorte Kvist Knudsen told Nordjyske.

READ ALSO: Danish imam charged over call to kill Jews

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Denmark proposes new law to make Facebook pay for news and music

The government is to forward a bill on Friday proposing tech giants such as Facebook and Google pay Danish media for using content on their platforms.

Denmark proposes new law to make Facebook pay for news and music
File photo: Regis Duvignau/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The proposal will also mean platforms used to share media, such as YouTube, will be required to make agreements with rights holders in order to display videos or music, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

A comparable law recently took effect in Australia, resulting in all news pages being temporarily blocked for Facebook users in the southern hemisphere country.

READ ALSO: Could Denmark force Facebook to pay for news content?

“The media plays a central role in our democracy and ensures that public debate takes place on an infrormed basis,”culture minister Joy Mogensen said in the statement.

“If the media are to be able to continue making journalism, they should of course be paid for its use,” she added.

The proposal will provide for rights holders such as musicians or media outlets to be given a new publishing right which will enable them to decide who can use their content.

As such, companies like Facebook and Google will need permission to use the content online.

The Danish proposal builds on an EU directive which gives individual media outlets the right to agree deals with tech giants.

The bill put forward by Mogensen will allow Danish media to make a collective agreement with the tech companies providing for payment when their content is used.

An interest organisation for Danish media companies has backed the proposal.

“We have wanted to be able to enter collective agreements with tech giants because that would strengthen the media companies’ position,” Louise Brincker, CEO of Danske Medier, told newspaper Berlingske. Brincker noted she had not yet read the full proposal.

Media will not be obliged to make agreements with the tech companies, however. Complaints to the Danish copyright board, Ophavsretslicensnævnet, will be possible under the new law, should it be passed by parliament.

The bill will become law on June 7th should it receive the backing of a parliamentary majority.

Both Facebook and Google decline to comment to Berlingske on the matter, stating they had yet to see the bill in full.

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