Politics and Policy:
- Wired: Europeans Outlaw Net Hate Speech
- The Council of Europe has adopted a measure that would criminalize Internet hate speech, including hyperlinks to pages that contain offensive content.
The provision, which was passed by the council’s decision-making body (the Committee of Ministers), updates the European Convention on Cybercrime.
Specifically, the amendment bans “any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as pretext for any of these factors.”
“The emergence of international communication networks like the Internet provide certain persons with modern and powerful means to support racism and xenophobia and enables them to disseminate easily and widely expressions containing such ideas,” the council’s report on the amendment states. “In order to investigate and prosecute such persons, international cooperation is vital.”
Many European countries have existing laws outlawing Internet racism, which is generally protected as free speech in the United States. The council cited a report finding that 2,500 out of 4,000 racist sites were created in the United States. . .
Sorry Europe, but we Americans have this silly idea called freedom that we hold dear, and have gone as far as to enshrine it in the Bill of Rights. American might have its share of problems but at least we do have FREEDOM OF SPEECH!