Building on the trend observed in several European countries, such as Germany and France, the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (CSA) released a guidance note on 5 February 2020, which encourages the legislator of the French-speaking Community of Belgium to take concrete measures against online hate speech.
The guidance note :
In the CSA's view, the current liability of online platforms is too limited given the important role they play in spreading hate speech among young people. While video-sharing-platforms are included in the scope of (audiovisual) regulation through the revised AVMSD, this is not the case for social media, forums and posts. Considering that the exposure of young people to hate speech on online platforms and social media is increasing and that the current legal framework does not allow efficient responses, the Belgian CSA calls for the Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles to introduce a decree establishing a new co-regulatory system, which could ultimately give an impulse to a future European legal framework.
More specifically, the CSA advocates for:
This guidance note echoes the NetzDG law in Germany and the draft law on online hate in France (Proposition de loi “Avia” visant à lutter contre la haine sur internet) currently under debate in the French Parliament. In the meantime, in the UK, following the public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper, the Government has announced that Ofcom will be in charge of regulating the internet, with potential criminal penalties for executives of internet firms failing to protect users from “harmful and illegal content” online.