Recently, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has joined other world leaders in condemning the bans major social media outlets put on President Donald Trump and some of his high-profile supporters.
Lopez Obrador has said that, even though he is against using social media to encourage violence, limitation to the freedom of expression cannot be a response to this issue.
Moreover, he has suggested that G20 leaders come out with a joint proposal in which the recent actions of the major social media companies will be condemned.
According to Marcelo Ebrard, a Foreign Relations Secretary in López Obrador’s cabinet, the campaign is planned to involve officials from all over the world, including Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
Poland wants to make social media censorship illegal
López Obrador’s initiative has a high likelihood of succeeding as many world leaders have already criticized the decisions of companies such as Twitter to permanently ban President Trump.
For example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel characterized the bans of President Trump as ‘problematic’ due to the threat to the freedom of speech they posed.
Other leaders, such as Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, are already planning to make social media censoring illegal.
Even the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called the bans ‘unacceptable’.
Yet, López Obrador’s action may come as a surprise given the fact that he is the founder of a left-wing political MORENA (an abbreviation for the National Regeneration Movement).
Even though it may seem that, as a leftist, López Obrador does not share much with the Republican President of the United States, there are good explanations for his initiative.
Although a leftist, a friend of Trump
The main one is probably the stance he, as a leftist, takes against the influence of private companies on the public sphere.
López Obrador explicitly said that private companies should not act as ‘judges of the Holy Inquisition’ deciding what can be publicly said.
For him, this is an issue for the government and judicial system.
Furthermore, there is a history of friendly relations between López Obrador and President Trump.
A short time ago, President Trump characterized López Obrador as his great friend who is very well aware of the situation.
It is surely the case that part of López Obrador’s motivation for the G20 campaign has partly to do with his personal relationship with President Trump.
It remains to be seen what will be the outcome of President López Obrador’s campaign.
The fact that so many world leaders are involved suggests that something very important is going on for the freedom of speech on a global level.