Hate Speech is violent in itself and must be called out – It is the roots of many forms of violence that are being perpetrated and has become one of the biggest challenges to the rule of law and to our democratic conscience. So hate speech needs to be regulated.
Question Is whether Hate speech needs to be regulated?
Hate speech is a menace to democratic values, social stability &peace. In-tight_of the above statement discuss the legal avenues available to curb hate speech. Also, suggest measures for stringent regulation of hate speech.
What is Hate Speech? And why does hate speech needs to be regulated?
There is no international legal definition of hate speech and the characterization of what is hateful’ is controversial and disputed. • The term hate speech is understood as any kind of communication in speech, writing, or behavior, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender or another identity factor.
Hate Speech – Legal Provisions
Provisions to counterspeech
1. Section 124/A penalizes sedition
2. Section 153A & 153 of IPC
3. Section 295 & 295A of IPC
4. Section 505 of IPC
5. Section 8, 123(3A) and 125 of RPA 1951
What is Section 153A of IPC? – Section 153 A of IPC deals with the offence of promoting disharmony enmity or feelings of heat because of different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony. The offence is cognizable and the punishment for the same may extend to three years, with a fine or with both.
What is Section 295A of IPC? – Section 295A of the IPC is a variant of the blasphemy law. It allows punishing any deliberate or malicious act that is intended to insult the region or religious beliefs of a certain class of citizens. The offence under Section 295A is cognizable and a nonbailable and non-compoundable offence. The police are authorized to arrest a person charged under Section 295A with a warrant.
What is Section 153B of IPC? – Section 153 B of the IPC safeguards the interests of the Class of persons and above all the national integration by providing punishment against imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration.
What is Section 505 of IPC? – Section 505 of IPC is aimed to check and punish the spreading of false and mischievous news intended to upset the public tranquility. The offence shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with a fine or both.
None of these provisions explicitly defines hate speech. There is no legal definition of hate speech as of now.
Recently, even the Parliamentary standing committee on Home Affairs headed by Anand Sharma has urged Home Minister Amit Shah to take effective steps against hate speech and curb the practice. The committee has echoed the recommendations made by 267th Law Commission report on the issue of Hate Speech.
Law Commission report – Important recommendations
1. Comprehensive definition of hate speech
2. Bring suitable changes to CrPC & IPC to tackle hate speech Law Commission of India
3. New sections in sections 153 & 505 specifically deal with hate speech & incitement of violence with appropriate punishment.
T.K. Viswanathan Committee 2017 – • Vishwanathan committee recommended stricter laws to curb online hate speech and the use of cyberspace to spread hatred and incitement. It proposed inserting Sections 153 C () and Section 505 A in the IPC for incitement to commit an offence on grounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, place of birth, residence, language, disability or tribe. The proposed punishment by up to two years along with an Rs. 5,000 fine.
Bezbaruah committee 2014 – • Bezbor committee recommended two stripper anti-social discrimination provisions in the IPC. 53C – Promoting or attempting to promote acts prejudicial to human dignity would be punishable by five years and a fine or both 509A-Word, gesture, or act intended to insult members of a particular race would be punishable by three years or fine or both. The committee itself was constituted by the Centre in 2014 in the wake of a series of racial attacks on persons belonging to the northeast.
What is hate speech? Hate speech needs to be regulated
There is no international legal definition of hate speech, and the characterization of what is hateful” is controversial and disputed. In the context of this document, the term hate speech is understood as any kind of communication in speech, writing, or behavior, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender or another identity factor.
This is often rooted in, and generates intolerance and hatred and, in certain contexts, can be demeaning and divisive. Rather than prohibiting hate speech as such, international law prohibits incitement to discrimination, hostility, and violence (referred to here as ‘incitement). Incitement is a very dangerous form of speech because it explicitly and deliberately aims at triggering discrimination, hostility, and violence, which may also lead to or include terrorism or atrocity crimes.
Hate speech that does not reach the threshold of incitement is not something that international law requires States to prohibit. It is important to underline that even when not prohibited, hate speech may be harmful. The impact of hate speech cuts across numerous existing United Nations areas of operations, including:
human rights protection; prevention of atrocity crime, preventing and countering terrorism and the underlying spread of violent extremism and counter-terrorism, preventing and addressing gender-based violence; enhancing the protection of civilians, refugee protection; the fight against all forms of racism and discrimination protection of minorities, sustaining peace; and engaging women, children, and youth. Addressing hate speech, therefore, requires a coordinated response that tackles the root causes and drivers of hate speech, as well as its impact on victims and societies more broadly.
Monitoring and analyzing hate speech- Relevant UN entities should be able to recognize, monitor, collect data and analyze hate speech trends.
Addressing root causes, drivers, and actors of hate speech- The UN system should adopt a common understanding of the root causes and drivers of hate speech in order to take relevant action to best address and/or mitigate its impact. Relevant UN entities should also identify and support actors who challenge hate speech.
Engaging and supporting the victims of Hate Speech- UN entities should show solidarity with the victims of hate speech and implement human rights-centered measures which aim at countering retaliatory hate speech and escalation of violence. They should also promote measures to ensure that the rights of victims are upheld, and their needs addressed, including through advocacy for remedies, access to justice, and psychological counseling for hate speech.
Using Terminology- UN entities should keep up with technological innovation and encourage more research on the relationship between the misuse of the Internet and social media for spreading hate speech and the factors that drive individuals towards violence. UN entities should also engage private sector actors, including social media companies, on steps they can take to support UN principles and action to address and counter hate speech, encouraging partnerships between government, industry, and civil society.
Using education as a tool for addressing and countering hate speech- UN entities should take action in formal and informal education to implement SDG4, promote the values and skills of Global Citizenship Education, and enhance Media and Information Literacy.
Fostering peaceful, inclusive, and just societies to address the root causes and drivers of hate speech- The UN System should raise awareness about respect for human rights, non-discrimination, tolerance, and understanding of other cultures and religions, as well as gender equality including in the digital world. It should promote intercultural, interfaith and