Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Relations Marcelo Ebrard. Photo: presidencia,gob.mx

By KELIN DILLON

Mexico announced Thursday, Jan. 14, that it is working to create a proposal with other nations in the Group of 20 (G20), an international group consisting of 19 countries and the European Union, to limit censorship by private social media companies following U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s controversial removal from several online platforms.

Trump found himself without a social media presence after some of his inflammatory comments were deemed as having incited his followers toward breaking into the U.S. Capital in protest of his loss of the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, ultimately resulting in the loss of five lives and widespread criticism of the event. 

Controversy followed Trump’s ban, raising a debate over what exactly constitutes censorship, and whether social media platforms have the authority to implement it.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) previously condemned Trump’s removal on Jan. 7, saying “I don’t like anybody being censored or having their right to post a message on Twitter or Facebook taken away.”

“Where is the law, where is the regulation, what are the norms?” questioned López Obrador at the time.

“This is an issue for government; this is not an issue for private companies.”

“It is not allowed that a company or group of companies can determine who has the right and who does not,” echoed Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Relations (SRE) Marcelo Ebrard.

“That would be like admitting that there is a supranational government that determines what the freedoms of citizens are.”

Ebrard announced Thursday, Jan. 14, that Mexico has spoken with several countries that “think the same” on the censorship issue, saying there is a “worldwide disagreement” over Facebook and Twitter’s actions.

“The instruction that we have from the president is to establish contact with everyone (in the G20) who shares this concern and work together to be able to make a joint proposal,” continued Ebrard.

“Notably, the German Chancellor (Angela Merkel), the French government, the Commissioner of the European Union, several countries in the world, also in Africa, in Latin America, in Southeast Asia.”

Merkel previously referred to Trump’s social media ban as a “problematic” breach of the “fundamental right to free speech.”

AMLO floated the idea of Mexico creating its own social network during his daily press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 13, to “guarantee communication and freedom of expression” within the country, without censorship.

López Obrador later said he already asked the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) to begin working on plans for his proposed national platform. 

…Jan. 15, 2021

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