Freedom of Speech

Freedom and Responsibility


Hate Speech

In 1993, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a report titled “The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes.” This report gave one of the first definitions by government on hate speech. According to NTIA hate speech is:

  • Speech that advocates or encourages violent acts or crimes of hate.
  • Speech that creates a climate of hate or prejudice, which may in turn foster the commission of hate crimes.

Hate speech in media

In January, 2009, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC),[66] a not for profit organization with a mission to improve the image of American Latinos as portrayed by the media, unveiled a three prong strategy to address the issue of hate speech in media. 1) NHMC filed a petition for inquiry into hate speech with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).[67] The petition urges the Commission to examine the extent and effects of hate speech in media, including the likely link between hate speech and hate crimes, and to explore non-regulatory ways in which to counteract its negative impacts. 2) NHMC asked the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to update its 1993 report “The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes”; 3) NHMC collaborated with the UCLA/Chicano Research Study Center (CRSC) to produce groundbreaking research on the subject. “Hate Speech on Commercial Radio, Preliminary Report on a Pilot Study” was also released in January, 2009.[68][69]

“Hate Speech on Commercial Radio” categorized hate speech in four different areas.

  • False facts
  • Flawed argumentation
  • Divisive language
  • Dehumanizing metaphors

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Is There a Right to Hate Speech?

By Natan Lerner

I have been asked to discuss whether international human rights law does or should permit limits on “inflammatory political speech” in the context of the debate that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin. Leaving aside the question of the precise legal meaning of the words “inflammatory” and “political speech,” I would like to point out that the debate in Israel regarding measures against the abuse of freedom of speech and association in order to incite against others, because of racial, religious or political motives, is not new. This debate does not differ from the worldwide controversy on how to strike a balance between those freedoms, in a democratic and pluralistic society, and the principles of coexistence, tolerance and respect for the human rights of all.

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The Harm in Hate Speech

By Jeremy Waldron

In many countries, though not in the United States, laws prohibit “hate speech.” Those who, in Jeremy Waldron’s opinion, uncritically elevate the benefits of free speech over competing values oppose hate-speech laws; but Waldron thinks that a strong case can be made in their favor. (Waldron thinks that there are “very few First Amendment Absolutists” [p. 144] who oppose all regulation of speech; but he thinks that many other First Amendment scholars are unduly critical of hate speech regulations.) Waldron is a distinguished legal and political philosopher, but the arguments that he advances in defense of hate-speech laws, taken on their own terms, do not seem to me very substantial.[1]

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