Online hate speech and hate crime
29 Sep 2022 13:05:00Strasbourg, France 29 SEPTEMBER 2022
The second meeting of the Committee of Experts on Hate Crime (PC/ADI-CH met on 29-30 September in...
21 Jun 2022 18:27:00Worldwide 18 June 2022
Marked for the first time in 2022, the UN International Day for Countering Hate Speech (18 June)...
02 Jun 2022 08:42:00Turin, Italy 20 May 2022
The Council of Europe has issued a set of guidelines to its 46 member states aimed at preventing...
25 Oct 2021 12:46:00Strasbourg 25 October 2021
The Committee of Experts on Combating Hate Speech (ADI/MSI-DIS) held its fourth and final...
20 Oct 2021 11:04:00Strasbourg 20 October 2021
The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Unit of the Council of Europe in partnership...
Hate speech, whether online or offline, poses a threat to democracy and human rights. To address it constitutes an urgent challenge in all Council of Europe member States.
The Council of Europe standards and practices related to addressing hate speech have guided the work of the Expert Committee on Combating Hate Speech (ADI/MSI-DIS). It prepared a Recommendation on a comprehensive approach to addressing hate speech within a human rights framework, including in the context of an online environment.
The final Recommendation was adopted by the Committee of Ministers in May 2022. It provides non-binding guidance for member States, building on the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and paying special attention to the online environment in which most of today’s hate speech can be found.
Hate crime is partly covered by the Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention on Xenophobia and Racism, and thus addresses cyberviolence motivated by certain biases, but not if motivated by other perceived characteristics such as gender, sexual orientation or disability. The work of the Council of Europe and other organisations on discrimination and intolerance is also relevant. Key issues are the role of service providers and the question of hate speech versus free speech. A Committee of Experts on Combating Hate Crime (PC/ADI-CH) started its work in 2022.
Free speech versus hate speech:
Countries have different views about the degree to which speech should be limited by society – that is, where to set the balance between one person’s fundamental right to express him/herself and another person’s fundamental right to safety. A multitude of case-law judgements and decisions can be consulted online, as well as recommendations containing guidance for the various stakeholders involved.
An educational youth campaign, called the “No Hate Speech Movement”, was run by the Council of Europe between 2012-2018. This campaign aimed at combating online hate speech by mobilising young people and youth organisations to recognise and act against these human rights violations. The No Hate Speech Movement developed among other things an overview of reporting structure for hate speech and cyberbullying to national structures and has opened the path for follow-up initiatives at both the Council of Euope and national level.
Council of Europe Conventions
- Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems (2003)
- Second Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime on enhanced co-operation and disclosure of electronic evidence (2022) new
- European Convention on Human Rights (1950)
Recommendations / Declarations of the Committee of Ministers
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)16 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States in combating hate speech New
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on preventing and combating sexism
- Declaration (Decl/29/05/2019) by the Committee of Ministers on the legacy of the No Hate Speech Movement youth campaign
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)2 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the roles and responsibilities of internet intermediaries
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on a Guide to human rights for Internet users
Resolutions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
- Resolution 2275 (2019) The role and responsibilities of political leaders in combating hate speech and intolerance
- Resolution 2276 (2019) Stop hate speech and acts of hatred in sport
- Resolution 2144 (2017) Ending cyberdiscrimination and online hate
- Resolution 1967 (2014) A strategy to prevent racism and intolerance in Europe
Recommendations of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
- ECRI General Policy Recommendation No 15, on combating hate speech, adopted on 8 December 2015
- ECRI General Policy Recommendation No. 6, on combating the dissemination of racist, xenophobic and antisemitic material via the internet, adopted on 15 December 2000
Reporting to national bodies
Most European countries have established national reporting mechanisms and support for victims of cyber bullying, hate speech and hate crime, provided by national authorities and NGOs.
Reporting to social media platforms
Social media platforms offer tips to help protect users from cyber bullying and hate speech, and provide tools for reporting them to the platform administrators or moderators.
- Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems, 2003
- Council of Europe HELP tutored courses and OSCE’s Office of Democratic Institutions (ODIHR): Hate Speech and Hate Crime
- Council of Europe: Action against cyberviolence
- Council of Europe: Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)16 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on combating hate speech
- Council of Europe: Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States on combating hate crime
- European Commission: The EU Code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online
- European Court of Human Rights Case law on hate speech
- Germany: Making use of not specific to the online environment provisions
- INHOPE: Against illegal content and activity
- Mauritius: Awareness campaign on cyberbullying and cyberviolence
- No Hate Speech Movement
- Norway: Action against cyberviolence
- OSCE-ODIHR Hate Crime Reporting
- Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and its No Hate Parliamentary Alliance
- Singapore: Cyber wellness
- Slovakia: Criminal Code provisions applied to cyberviolence
- UK: Prosecution of hate crime
The Committee of Experts on Combating Hate Speech (ADI/MSI-DIS) held its fourth and final meeting in a hybrid format on 6-7 and 20-21 October.
ADI/MSI-DIS members and other participants held constructive discussions on the draft Recommendation on Combating Hate Speech and its draft Explanatory Memorandum. They finalised and approved both texts, which were transmitted to the Steering Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI) and the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI). The draft Recommendation and its draft Explanatory Memorandum were approved by the Steering Committees and adopted by the Committee of Ministers during its annual session, held in Turin, Italy in May 2022. New
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This Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)16 provides non-binding guidance for member states and other key stakeholders on a comprehensive approach to addressing hate speech within a human rights framework. According to the mandate given to the Expert Committee on combating hate speech (ADI/MSI-DIS), the Recommendation builds on the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and pays special attention to the online environment in which much of today’s hate speech can be found.
The Committee of Experts on Combating Hate Crime (PC/ADI-CH) started its work in 2022. New
The main aim of the Committee is to prepare and draft a comprehensive Recommendation to address hate crimes. The approach will also build upon the work of colleagues in the field to help set forward-looking standards in areas such as human rights, criminal justice, victim support and services, civil society participation.
The International Day for Countering Hate Speech is observed each year on 18 June.