European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)


Combating racism and intolerance while respecting freedom of expression

In the framework of its country monitoring work and its work on general themes, ECRI regularly expresses its concern about the increasingly racist and inflammatory tone of public discourse. This atmosphere of hostility and rejection is fuelled by extremist organisations and individuals, but also by some representatives of mainstream political parties and of the media, which is most alarming.

In response to this disturbing development, ECRI has elaborated a number of different possible policy responses, including legislative, self-regulatory and structural measures.

In this context, one of the major challenges ECRI has been confronted with is how to strike the right balance between the repression of racist and intolerant discourse and freedom of expression, which is rightfully considered to be one of the main foundations of democratic societies. This also why ECRI organised a seminar on this topic, bringing together relevant actors in this field (including government representatives, parliamentarians, representatives of human rights institutions, journalists and representatives of media self-regulatory bodies, researchers, specialised NGOs and vulnerable groups representatives) in order to devise new strategies as to how best reconcile freedom of expression and the right to be free from racism and racial discrimination.

Proceedings of ECRI Expert Seminar: Combating racism while respecting freedom of expression