Wednesday 3 July 2019 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 3/7/2019

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Josh Fehnert

Tackling the trolls

The French National Assembly will today grasp the nettle of how to handle hate speech that’s posted online. The bill being discussed proposes shunting accountability for the screening and removal of such content to the social-media firms that host it. If enacted the law would also require them to remove such material within 24 hours of a complaint being reported.

Or what, you ask? Well, for a start, violators that infringe the statute could face fines of up to 4 per cent of their global revenue. That’s rather a lot if you’re part of what the French call the “Gafa” club (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple). France would also appoint a public body to oversee cybercrime prosecutions and strong-arm technology firms to hire more in-house moderators. Big tech companies have long weaselled out of responsibility for damaging content by maintaining that they aren’t traditional publishers and, hence, not liable for the nasty bits they broadcast. Right.

Luckily this ludicrous and long-running abdication of accountability is at last being properly examined. After all, there’s a clear difference between freedom of speech and freedom from online hate speech.

Image: Getty Images

Politics / Europe

Slow progress

A third consecutive day of grappling over who should be elevated to the most senior positions in the EU ended in compromise yesterday. Representatives from the bloc’s member states named German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen as a potential successor to Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission. While the deal still needs to be approved by the European Parliament, this represents progress. Quentin Peel, associate fellow with the Europe programme at Chatham House, believes Von der Leyen to be a good choice. “She’s competent and international, with strong links to Nato,” he says. “Moreover she is one of the candidates who is perceived as having a high transatlantic profile.”

Image: Reuters

Defence / Libya

Twisting arms

The balance is shifting in the civil war between Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord and rogue military commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army. Haftar threatened to conduct airstrikes on government-controlled areas of Tripoli yesterday after losing control of the key strategic town of Gharyan last week. Anas El Gomati, founder and director of Libyan think-tank Sadeq Institute, attributes the worsening situation to the UAE breaching sanctions by selling US-made weapons to Haftar. “Without the continuous violations of arms embargoes over the past five years, Khalifa Haftar wouldn’t be here,” he told The Briefing. “These violations aren’t small footnotes in war; they ripen people like Haftar into thinking that conflict is the only option. Without them he would be at the negotiating table.”

Urbanism / London

Turning the tide

Featuring “landscaped trails for running, walking and meditation”, the world’s latest linear park, The Tide, is being introduced to the media in Greenwich, London today. While we’re doubtful we’ll spot many meditators in this busy southeast corner of the city, we are keen to find out whether a commercial development prioritising parkland is for real. Developer Knight Dragon has certainly spared no expense in its efforts, commissioning Diller Scofidio + Renfro (the architecture firm behind the world’s greatest linear park, New York’s High Line) and adding outdoor artwork from the likes of Damien Hirst and Allen Jones. But in a city where every available square centimetre offers financial opportunity, profit is usually placed well above free public space in these types of place-making exercises. Let’s hope The Tide, and the star-studded creative cast behind it, can turn London’s private-development schemes in a more positive direction.

Aviation / Canada

On course?

Yesterday, Montréal transport manufacturer Bombardier unveiled an addition in its line of business jets: the new Learjet 75 Liberty. The six-seat craft is the latest effort as part of CEO Alain Bellemare’s five-year turnaround plan, which has seen Bombardier focus on business jets and rail equipment instead of commercial jets. In fact, last week it announced the $550m (€487m) sale of its Canadair Regional Jet programme to Mitsubishi, marking its exit from commercial aviation after 33 years. While the new Learjet costs a pretty penny at $9.9m (€8.8m), it’s almost $4m (€3.5m) less than its forebear. Bombardier hopes the (slightly) more affordable price tag will kickstart sales of the craft – which have dwindled in recent years – and vindicate Bellemare’s change of approach.

Image: Heiko Prigge

M24 / What Moves You?

Exhibiting taste

We meet Sadie Coles, founder of the eponymous, world-renowned gallery for an insight into how the currents of the art world draw Sadie to different places. She explains how her travel schedule has changed over the years. Plus: Jane Morris, editor at large of ‘The Art Newspaper’, offers a potted recent history of the shifting face of the art market and young curator Lewis Teague Wright explains how his migratory gallery serves a truly purposeful audience.

Monocle Films / Poland

Officer class: Poland’s military university

Monocle Films visits Poland’s land forces academy, which is nurturing the next generation of officers to fuel its expanding defence forces.


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