Ay Caramba! The Spanish Government Wants To Ban Internet Memes?

While the U.S. is coming off a contentious presidential election, no matter how you feel about the outcome, be happy you live in a land where Internet censorship is a non-issue. In contrast, Spain and its ruling Popular Party led by prime minister Mariano Rajoy is making a push in congress to ban the use of memes, which often take the form of captioned images that are humorous and/or snarky.

The proposal seeks to disallow "spreading images that infringe on the honor of a person" and makes reference to a law that's nearly a quarter of a century old. If PP politicians get their way, the ban will be added to the Citizen Security Law, an unpopular piece of legislation unaffectionately known as the "gag law." It was introduced last year and limits public protests and critical commentaries on social media.

Mariano Rajoy
You can turn this image into a meme using any number of available meme generators on the web

"We are worried about this reform because Internet does not requires special laws. The same rights and duties should exist online as offline," Spain's Platform for the Defense of Freedom of Information said in a statement.

The good news for free speech advocates is that Rajoy and company will have a tough time pushing through the legislation. The PP holds only 137 of the 350 available parliamentary seats, whereas it had majority control when the aforementioned gag law was passed.

Mariano Rajoy Meme

Once word of the proposal spread, social media reacted as one might predict—with memes poking fun at the proposal and those who support it. Manny of them carry the hashtag #SinMemesNoHayDemocracia.

"If the plan is to clamp down on any publication of images without consent of the individual, the popular activity of using memes to generate political or social criticism would become dangerous," said Carlos Sánchez Almeida, legal director of the Platform in Defense of Freedom of Information.

It doesn't appear the proposal will go through and will only be successful in prompting more memes.
Tags:  Internet, Spain, memes