Module 6: Hate Speech
Summary Modules on Digital Rights and Freedom of Expression Online in sub-Saharan Africa
- Certain types of speech, known as hate speech, are prohibited by international law.
- It is important to find the right balance between speech that is offensive, yet important for freedom of expression and dissent, and speech which constitutes impermissible hate speech.
- Regulating hate speech can be particularly difficult in the online context.
- Most domestic laws mandate that hate speech requires an intention to incite violence with a reasonable chance, but not that actual harm results.
- The biggest danger with hate speech is that vagueness in defining its meaning may open up space for such laws to be used as tools to stifle criticism.
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- Advocacy of genocide or denial of the holocaust, along with religious defamation, are often treated as special cases of hate speech.