Publication Date: December 2015
Publisher: ARTICLE 19
Research and Editorial Team: ARTICLE 19
Article 19 Toolkit: ‘Hate Speech’ Explained

This toolkit responds to a growing demand for clear guidance on identifying “hate speech,” and for responding to the challenges it poses within a human rights framework.

In the first part of the report the term 'hate speech' is being explained and differentiated. ARTICLE 19 points out that there is no uniform definition of the term under international human rights law. The Toolkit also helps to distinguish between the diverse types of 'hate speech'.

Secondly, ARTICLE 19 provides guidelines for State and non-state actors on how to create an environment that promotes freedom of expression and at the same time fights the causes of 'hate speech'.

Thirdly, the Report presents the exceptional circumstances in which 'hate speech' must be prohibited by international law. Therefore ARTICLE 19 provides guidance on ensuring that such prohibitions are not abused and applied in an appropriate manner.

ARTICLE 19 strongly advocates the need to ensure that responses to ‘hate speech’ comply with international human rights law. Prohibitions that censor offensive viewpoints are often counter-productive to the aim of promoting equality, as they fail to address the underlying social roots of the kinds of prejudice that drive ‘hate speech. In most instances, equality is better promoted through positive measures which increase understanding and tolerance, rather than through censorship. This toolkit is not a definitive version, and will be continuously updated to reflect the developing case law and best practices in this area.

Tags: Hate speech Freedom of expression Worldwide

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