Archives for posts with tag: intolerance

UN Special Rapporteur on Racism reports a need to curb hate speech and intolerance, but how to address that such could also be abused to curtail freedom of speech and human rights in general? Rather than regulations and more government involvement, are we as global citizens also best suited to both confront haters and promote greater freedom, tolerance, pluralism of views and ways and human rights? Also, recall that hate radio at least in US has been persistent for several decades now, and why not focus on eliminating hate speech on the public airwaves already subject to public license and regulation.

“The increase of extremist hate websites, the use of the Internet and social media by extremist groups and individuals to propagate hate speech and incite racial violence, and the increased number of incidents of racist violence and crimes prompted by racist content on the Internet remain to be addressed, despite the adoption of positive measures,” states the Special Rapporteur on Racism, Mutuma Ruteere while addressing the UN General Assembly in NYC HQ as he presented 2 reports, one on racism on the Internet and the other on extremist political parties, movements and groups. Mr. Ruteere called for greater cooperation among governments, international bodies, the private sector, civil society and local communities, and stressed that a cohesive approach developed through dialogue is needed regarding hate speech on the Web. As UN News Centre reported, Ruteere noted that States should adopt legislative measures that examine the link between manifestations of online racism and hate crimes committed. “Additional measures such as self- and co-regulatory initiatives developed by service providers and other relevant actors may also be useful in making efforts more effective.”

We fear that any invitation for Governments to regulate “speech” more could be employed by all governments to curtail free speech and suffocate dissent and non-conformism – just see the misuse of the term “terror” to evidence to abuse both peoples and human rights in the name of the war on terror. However, we do agree with the Special Rapporteur’s next recommendation: “I believe that a possible way of countering racism on the Internet is through content diversification, in particular by promoting local content.” He urged States to adopt policies and strategies to make the Internet widely accessible and affordable to all. “Education about racist content on the Internet and awareness raising measures are also important tools.”

As we have noted, the Special Rapporteur did see the risk of Government abuse: “Any restrictions, control and censorship of the content disseminated via the Internet should be done on a clearly defined legal basis and in a manner that is necessary, proportionate and compatible with States’ international human rights obligations including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.” However, we see no inclination for Governments to really restrain themselves or for global citizens to effectively hold them accountable for abuses – as is the case now in several issues related to free speech, censorship and human rights.

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This photo is found on sites labeled as “patriotic,” “Christian” or simply to “Save America.” To most, the focus will be on the presentation of President Obama – that he is unjustly labeled a Muslim. However, the more severe message is hate and intolerance toward Muslims and blaming all for any terror with the destroyed World Trade Towers in background. –MORE–