Human rights House Zagreb and GONG organised a public discussion on hate speech, where the publication “Hate Speech and Unacceptable Speech: A Guide for Politicians” and an online platform DostajeMrznje.org where presented.
„When a public expression is characterized as hate speech, it is worth noting that in recognition of such a speech it is essential to take into account social and political context in which such speech occurs. What we should ask ourselves is how can we and how should we, as a society, respond, not only to hate speech, but also to other forms of unacceptable public expression”, said Mitre Georgiev from the Human Rights House Zagreb in a public discussion on hate speech.
The publication “Hate Speech and Unacceptable Speech: A Guide for Politicians” is primarily intended for politicians, and all other persons participating in public space, in order to become more familiar with standards applicable to hate speech, while the online platform dostajemrznje.org combines in one place all the procedures for the reporting of unacceptable forms of public speech and expression to media competent authorities, and facilitates reporting to all interested citizens.”
On the possible effects that hate speech might have on society, spoke Sunčica Brnardić of the Center for Peace Studies, who presented a critical review on the verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to Vojislav Šešelj, from the position of international criminal law, with particular emphasis on its importance to the transitional justice.
“With the verdict of acquittal in the present case, the ICTY has missed an opportunity to promote practices of conceptualization, attestation and prosecution of acts of incitement to hatred and racial discrimination in the perpetration of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and thus pave the way for the establishment of standards in international and national courts in such and similar cases”, said Brnardić.
Public hate speech is present on the internet portals, in the form of readers’ comments. Sara Lalić from the Center for Peace Studies presented the analysis of rules and practices of dealing with such forms of hate speech on the 10 most popular portals in Croatia. “On one hand, comments can contribute to openness in the exchange of ideas and the overall democratization process, while on the other hand these can have significant consequences for individuals and society. There is a wide range of possibilities to solve this problem which may be found in the space between the total abolition of the possibility to comment and total freedom without restriction such as: greater administrator’s control, applications which enable the readers themselves to report and to react to unacceptable speech. “
In that regard, the publication “Hate Speech and Unacceptable Speech: A Guide for Politicians” and an online platform DostajeMrznje.org is a contribution to combatting hate speech and other speech that is unacceptable in democratic society in public space.