Anyone spending time online has noticed the increase of hateful and abusive language. Hate speech is speech and expression that degrades a person or persons because of who they are, or who someone thinks they are.
Typical hate speech contains slurs that promote negative stereotypes and intolerance, and speech that tries to promote or justify hatred, violence, and discrimination based on, for example, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or age.
Hate speech or free speech?
It is important that a balance is kept between combatting hate speech on the one hand and upholding freedom of speech on the other. Hate speech is a threat to democratic values and development, the protection of human rights and the rule of law. It can lead to hate crime; acts of violence and conflict on a wider scale. However, restrictions on hate speech have been misused by governments, to silence protesters and dissidents.
Media and Information Literacy Education is an effective way to empower young people and fight hate speech and its impact. It contains lessons on media ethics, rights and responsibilities, the importance of free speech, and the need for non-prejudicial “counter-speech”.
Quiz – freedom to hate?
Freedom of speech – the right to express your opinions without censorship, restriction or legal punishment – is a cornerstone of a democratic society. But does that mean that we have the right to say whatever we like? Check out this fun and challenging quiz show. Do you agree with the contestants?
What is hate speech?
Have you ever been the target of online harassment? Perhaps even been the aggressor, liked or shared a hateful message? It’s easy to get carried away in the fast-paced comment sections. In this video, people debate hate speech and why it’s become so widely spread.