Equality and hate speech

Hate and discrimination present increasing challenges to ensuring that all people are able to enjoy their right to freedom of expression, and other human rights, equally.   Removing discriminatory barriers so that all people can speak out and be heard, and ensuring that no one is censored on the basis of who they are, is central securing the right to freedom of expression.

“Hate speech”, as a form of discriminatory expression, is a serious human rights concern.  It is a tool often used to silence and intimidate minorities, and to scapegoat whole groups in society while stifling dissent. Whether promulgated by politicians or spread by media outlets or online, “hate speech” can create environments conducive to violence and other human rights violations against minority groups.

While international human rights law requires States to prohibit the most severe forms of “hate speech”, censorship is rarely an effective means of tackling its root-causes.    Broadly framed “hate speech” laws are also frequently misapplied to target minority and dissenting expression.

ARTICLE 19 advocates for States to engage in a range of law and policy measures to counter “hate speech” with more speech, seeking to maximise inclusivity, diversity and pluralism in public discourse. That means clearly defining the circumstances in which certain types of “hate speech” can or must be limited, and ensuring those measures are only used exceptionally, and as a last resort.

Myanmar: Failure to condemn atrocity crimes and hate speech fanning flames of crisis in Rakhine
13.10.2017 6 min read

Myanmar: Failure to condemn atrocity crimes and hate speech fanning flames of crisis in Rakhine

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05.10.2017 6 min read

EU fails to protect free speech online, again

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07.09.2017 9 min read

Myanmar: Proposed “hate speech” law endangers free expression and will not prevent conflict or violence

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01.09.2017 4 min read

Germany: Act to Improve Enforcement of the Law on Social Networks undermines free expression

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29.08.2017 13 min read

Should “hate speech” be free?

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13.07.2017 3 min read

Call for Applications: Regulating “Hate Speech” in the Media

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26.04.2017 4 min read

Germany: Draft Bill on Social Networks raises serious free expression concerns

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07.04.2017 5 min read

Russia: ARTICLE 19 Condemns Incitement to Violence against LGBT people in Chechnya

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21.03.2017 9 min read

UN HRC: Initiative to criminalise “acts of a racist and xenophobic nature” must adhere to freedom of expression standards

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