Enes from the Turkish team part of project Let’s learn for Migration that took place in Bansko, Bulgaria made a research on Hate seepch vs Freedom of speech as outcome of the project. Please find below his findings:

A. Definition:

               The Cambridge Dictionary defines hate speech as “public communication that expresses hatred or advocates violence against a person or group on the basis of something such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.” However, because there has been so much controversy about freedom of speech, hate speech, and hate speech legislation, legal definitions of hate speech vary from country to country. Hate speech is defined as speech, gestures, conduct, writing, or displays that incite violence or prejudicial actions against a group or individuals on the basis of their membership in the group, or disparage or intimidate a group or individuals on the basis of their membership in the group, according to the laws of some countries

B. Theories:

Hate speech, according to philosopher John Stewart Mill, is an unavoidable component of the larger current of free expression. There is no partial truth in this idea; everything must be discussed to establish what is true and what is wrong. This idea prioritizes the advancement of the community over individual preferences. In On Liberty, Mill writes “They [an individual] have no right to settle the question for all of humanity and to exclude everyone else from the judging process… All attempts to silence debate are based on the idea of infallibility.” [10] Mill stresses the need of hate speech as a stepping stone to truth in this passage. Denying people the ability to evaluate statements because one finds them offensive is a unilateral decisions


There are two types of hate speech laws: those meant to maintain public order and those intended to safeguard human dignity. Because rules designed to safeguard public order require a higher standard to be broken, they are rarely enforced. According to a 1992 survey, only one person in Northern Ireland had been prosecuted for breaching a rule prohibiting incitement to religious violence in the previous 21 years. Because laws designed to safeguard human dignity have a lower threshold for infringement, they are more commonly enforced in Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

D. Commentary:

Hate speech restrictions have been opposed by a number of activists and academics. While initiatives to regulate hate speech are intended to protect the most vulnerable, civil rights campaigner Nadine Strossen claims that they are ineffectual and may have the opposite effect, with disadvantaged and ethnic minorities being prosecuted with breaching hate speech laws.  Hate speech theory, according to Kim Holmes, Vice President of the conservative Heritage Foundation and a critic, “assumes ill faith on the part of people regardless of their professed intentions” and “obliterates the ethical obligation of the person.”

Some scholars, such as Gideon Elford, argue that laws against hate speech constitute viewpoint discrimination (prohibited by First Amendment jurisprudence in the United States) because the legal system punishes some viewpoints but not others, while others, such as Rebecca Ruth Gould, a professor of Islamic and Comparative Literature at the University of Birmingham, argue that “insofar as hate speech regulation targets the consequences of speech that are contingently connected w According to John Bennett, limiting hate speech is based on dubious philosophical and factual foundations and is reminiscent of totalitarian governments’ attempts to control citizens’ beliefs.

Michael Conklin claims that hate speech has certain good aspects that are generally disregarded. He claims that allowing hate speech allows for a more accurate portrayal of the human condition, as well as opportunities to change people’s minds and identify those who should be avoided in certain situations.

The conventional framing of hate speech as “free speech vs. other political ideals” is a mischaracterization, according to political scholar Jeffrey W. Howard. He calls this the “balancing model,” and claims that it strives to balance the benefits of free speech against other ideals like dignity and equality for historically oppressed communities. Instead, he feels the main point of contention should be whether or not free speech includes hate speech. According to research, persons who support limiting hate speech are driven more by concerns about the speech’s impact on others than by concerns about their own affects.

Because of the increased perceived harm of hate speech, women are slightly more inclined than men to support limiting it, which some researchers suggest is due to gender variations in empathy toward hate speech targets.

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