Monday, 18 March 2013

Council of Europe 'No Hate Speech' campaign

The Council of Europe will soon launch The No Hate Speech Movement, an online youth campaign. The CoE describe it as follows:

To raise awareness, to change attitudes, to mobilise people requires campaigning; acting together for upholding human rights online. Campaigning is also a way to federate and bring together various actors for common purposes and values. The Council of Europe has a tradition of youth campaigns through the “All Different – All Equal” campaigns. The campaign – The No Hate Speech Movement – will be open for anyone to join it online; young people can join from the age of 13. The No Hate Speech Movement will be based on online communities of young people motivated to discuss and act against hate speech online. The campaign will be launched on 21 March 2013 and will run through to April 2014. National campaigns may start earlier and continue after April 2014.

The promotional brochure states:

Hate speech, as defined by the Council of Europe, covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin.

Although sexual orientation is not explicitly mentioned in the CoE's definition of hate speech, the European Court of Human Rights has issued a judgment in respect of hate speech and sexual orientation.

In Vejdeland and Others v Sweden, the Court unanimously held that a group who distributed homophobic propaganda could not claim protection under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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