Free speech crusade: Elon Musk to fund fight against Irish legislation

Free speech crusade: Elon Musk to fund fight against Irish legislation
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6:16 AM EST, January 26, 2024, updated: 7:31 AM EST, January 26, 2024

X and Tesla owner Elon Musk declared recently he will support everyone who wants to sue the Irish government for its new hate speech legislation, which is expected to progress this year.

American billionaire a few days ago was present in Poland during his very first visit to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, alongside famous conservative pundit Ben Shapiro and Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the chairman of the European Jewish Association. Musk took part in the conference there, expressing the importance and his tremendous respect for the idea of freedom of speech - "the bedrock of democracy", as he described it on the X platform in December 2023. "

"If there had been social media, I think it would have been impossible to hide," - he said, adding, "If there’d been freedom of speech as well." However, after these words, Musk was broadly criticized by numerous commentators, who underlined that even after the emergence of social media, genocides like this in Auschwitz still were happening.

The days after this event, Musk made headlines again by declaring this week he would fund the legal fees of every Irish citizen ready to challenge the new "free speech bill" bill proposed by the government of Ireland. But what is going on with this legislature, and does it have a chance to be implemented in Irish law?

Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill, as it is officially named, is seen by its supporters as a legal change to the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act of 1989. A new document, if enacted, will cover and protect more characteristics of hate speech, such as gender identity or disability. It will also punish any offense, trivialization, or denial of genocide.

In an interview with Irish "Gript," Elon Musk stated that people should be able to speak freely about their thoughts. "We will also fund the legal fees of Irish citizens that want to challenge the Bill," he added. American also underlined this is a crucial topic for him, as X's European headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland's capital.

After passing through the Irish lower chamber, the act is now stuck in the Senate but is expected to be enacted this year. This is the wish of the Irish Minister of Justice Helen McEntee.

"I recognize that there are many different points of view, with some saying the Bill doesn’t go far enough and others that it goes too far. But I can assure you that the Bill is not as radical as detractors claim; it is proportionate, evidence-based, and in line with legislation in other countries similar to ours," - said McEntee in her opening speech in the Department of Justice in June 2023, when its general principles have started to being discussed in the Senate.

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