The EU Commission has identified the two new European digital laws, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA), as a work of the century.
It is a legislative milestone, say Brussels and Strasbourg.
The European Parliament approved the DSA - in German: "Digital Services Act" - on Tuesday.
Both laws are expected to come into force later this year.
Their goal is, very briefly: The same rules should apply in the digital world as in the analog one.
The platform corporations, which are in fact the Internet, are particularly committed to this: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Meta, Microsoft.
Guarantee of fundamental rights, rule of law, responsibility and liability for content, fair competition, fight against crime, hatred and hate speech and fake news,
it's all in the law.
The only question is whether they correspond to our constitutional order and - who implements them.
As was to be expected, the EU Commission sees itself ahead of the game when it comes to implementation.
Member states must appoint digital coordinators who will meet on a board that decides on cross-border cases of possible violations of the law.
That will be quite a lot.
And they are complex, they relate to media, licensing, antitrust and criminal law.
So far, the responsibilities for the different cases in Germany have been precisely divided between the federal and state governments.
The institutions of the member states, which have so far taken care of media supervision, now have to take their place.
And should they all - the Federal Network Agency, the Federal Cartel Office, the Federal Office of Justice, the state media authorities - wait for
what the coordinator says or what instructions he passes on?
For the Federal Republic of Germany, this results in the special problem that media supervision here has to be drafted in a way that is “remote from the state”.
This is not the digital bureaucracy of the EU at all.
That's what we were talking about at this point (FAZ, July 5).
But the press associations rightly complain about something completely different.
During the legislative process, they repeated their monitum again and again, but were not heard.
The new "Basic Law for the Internet", as which the Digital Services Act is presented, "undermines" "freedom of the press on digital monopoly platforms".
This is what the Media Association of the Free Press (MVFP) and the Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) write.
And they are right about that.
They refer to Section 12 of the Digital Services Act, which deals with the terms and conditions of major platforms.
In these, the corporations should “indicate any restrictions in relation to the information provided by the users”.
They shall be “aware of all policies, procedures, measures and tools
used to moderate content, including algorithmic decision making and human verification.”
And they should "take into account" the rights and legitimate interests of all parties involved as well as the applicable fundamental rights of the users.
That means: First come the terms and conditions, then come the fundamental rights.
Publishers' and journalists' associations are of the justified conviction that this is not enough and that it should be worded the other way around - first the fundamental rights, in this case freedom of the press, then the general terms and conditions.
This is the only way to effectively prevent the platform corporations from blocking and deleting legal content at their discretion and thus hindering the free press.
"Legal press", according to the associations, "which may be distributed offline" must be "protected online against censorship by large platforms such as Facebook".
It's not about the subtleties, it's about the basics.
"The limits of freedom of the press, but also of the reader's freedom of information, are the general laws and not narrower general terms and conditions of large digital corporations".
According to the terms and conditions, Facebook “decides, for example, whether Facebook users will see legal press articles about the possibility of a laboratory accident as a cause of corona or not.” The fact that the EU lawmakers have not addressed this point is fatal, and rectification is urgently needed .
But the EU will first be busy organizing its digital supervision.
The platform companies can wait and see in peace.Keywords: