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“Zero limits to freedom of expression. The fight is against all discrimination”

The Honorable Sandro Gozi, MEP of Renew Europe, is the rapporteur of the provision on the transparency of political advertising.

Is there a risk related to transparency?

«We want to respond to the demand for more transparency in political activities, starting with political advertising, and to protect our democracies from the interference of foreign powers. We want to follow up on the findings and proposals of the Committee of Inquiry on Foreign Interference and Disinformation. From the vote for or against we will understand if we want to start getting serious or not. We absolutely do not limit the freedom of expression of each of us, we limit the excessive power of amplification of the large digital platforms without the consent of the citizens. Furthermore, we fight against discrimination, we eliminate existing obstacles which prevent us from providing political advertising services at European level. In this way, let’s increase freedom for everyone and enable European political parties to campaign truly transactional instead of having to be blocked by 27 different national legislations. And this will also benefit many European political advertising service companies, to which we guarantee greater legal certainty”.

What does Cambridge Analytical have to do with it?

«The Cambridge Analitica scandal was based on 87 million personal data observed, collected and used without the consent of citizens. With the rules we are proposing, this would no longer be possible, to the benefit of all and above all of our most sensitive and personal data and of our democracies. We also avoid sponsorships from non-EU citizens. At the same time, our proposals do not in any way restrict or interfere with political speech and freely expressed political opinions. We only regulate political advertising services that are paid for. I would also add that obviously the political parties will be able to continue to inform and communicate with their members in a completely free way».

Isn’t Qatargate a bigger problem?

«I believe that benevolentism is our worst enemy. We must strengthen the transparency of all political activity. With our proposal we do not prohibit anything, but if I as a candidate are financed by you for a political advertising service, the citizen who reads my post has the right to know that I am a candidate, that the post is political advertising and that you have funded”.

About the complaints from Kaili’s lawyers?

«What Eva Kaili’s lawyers denounced is very serious. I am well aware that I am going against the wind and that it is unpopular to call for respect for the rule of law for a detained parliamentarian. But I believe that if Eva Kaili’s daughter was really used as a pressure tool to make her confess, this should be denounced. If it happened in a distant non-European country, we probably would have already made a resolution. It takes place two kilometers from us, and silence reigns supreme even at the highest levels of Parliament”.

Source : Ilgiornale