Spain’s current ruling party is fed up with Internet memes — so much so that they want to ban them.
After Madrid regional MP Juan Jose Moreno was caught making a meme of Popular Party opposition leader Cristina Cifuentes during a debate (he turned her into Dirty Harry), the PP motioned to ban them. Specifically, the party wishes to stop the “spreading of images that infringe the honor of a person,” noting that the internet has made Spain’s 1982 law on the subject outdated.
The apparent push for censorship has some worried. As Carlos Sánchez Almeida, the legal director for Spain’s Platform for the Defence of Freedom of Information (PDLI), said, “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.”
“We are worried about this reform because internet does not require special laws; the same rights and duties should exist online as offline,” the PDLI said in a statement.
However, according to sources The Telegraph spoke to at the PP, their proposal is not as serious as critics suggest, adding that they are only in favor of clamping down on memes that are “insulting, involve death threats or accuse a person of committing a crime.”
The proposed meme reform arrives on Spain’s doorstep a year after what’s colloquially known as the gag law. The PP used a now-vanished parliamentary majority to push through legislation that limited the right to demonstrate and gave authorities the ability to fine individuals for disparaging Spanish elected officials on social media.
Many of the memes the PP is upset about poke fun at the party’s leader and Spain’s current conservative prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. So far, the only thing the proposal has accomplished is create a internet tsunami of memes aimed at Rajoy and his government.
Spanish social media is awash with new memes, all carrying the same hashtag #SinMemesNoHayDemocracia — Without Memes, There Is No Democracy.