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EU ratifies regulation for online terrorist content

The European Parliament (EP) approved on 28 April the European Union’s long-standing proposed Terrorist Content Online Regulation. With the EP’s adoption, the legislation is scheduled to enter into force 20 days after its forthcoming publication in the EU’s Official Journal, followed by implementation across the 27 EU countries one year thereafter.

No amendments to the draft text were presented during the EP’s plenary session, meaning that a standing text, agreed with the European Council in December, was adopted.

The new regulation lays down a uniform definition of terrorist content for legal purposes. It targets texts, images, sound recordings, videos, and live transmissions deemed to incite, solicit, or contribute to terrorist offences and recruitment, as well as material or guidance on how to make and use explosives, firearms, and other weapons. To avoid the regulation’s overreach or abuse, content for educational, journalistic, artistic, or research purposes and their promotion will not be considered.

The regulation frames a cross-border mechanism to ensure terrorist content is removed swiftly in all EU member states – within one hour – while reserving scrutiny rights for the executing member state when a removal order comes from another member state.

The rules will apply to internet service providers (ISPs) that host platforms and services in the EU, whether or not their main headquarters is within the union’s borders. Competent national authorities will have the power to order ISPs to remove terrorist content in all the EU countries by swiftly suppressing or disabling access to it.

Although internet platforms will not have to monitor or filter their content, once a competent national authority determines the platform is exposed to terrorist content, the provider will have to take measures to prevent its propagation, with. penalties for failure to do so.

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