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Report No. 267

An Effort to find Solution

6.24 The definition of hate speech is still subject to wider intellectual and academic debate. What is at issue is the criminalisation of hate speech and how the existing laws look at it. Since it is entrenched in the constitutional right of freedom of speech and expression, "hate speech" has been manipulated by many in different ways to achieve their ulterior motive under the garb of such right and the law courts in absence of clear provisions in IPC, are not able to prosecute hate speech charges brought before them with success.

6.25 As per the Jakarta Recommendations which was a regional consultation on "Expression, Opinion and Religious Freedoms in Asia", held in Jakarta, Indonesia on 3-5 June, 2015 and which included expert participants such as UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression observed the following:

  • There is a need to revise and strengthen the existing anti-discrimination legislation so as to meet universal standards on equality across all groups, communities, men and women;
  • Laws should be adopted to punish incitement to hatred that may result in violence, hostility and discrimination. They should be implemented in a non-selective, non-arbitrary and transparent manner, which should not be used to stifle dissent or the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression;
  • The religious minorities' parliamentarians should be enabled to raise issues relating to freedoms of expression and religion, and the intersection of these rights, in the parliament and other platforms.
  • All instances of violations of freedom of expression in the context of religion and incitement of hatred resulting in violence should be condemned and prevented.
  • Fight against hate speech cannot be isolated. It should be discussed on a wider platform such as the United Nations. Every responsible government, regional bodies and other international and regional actors should respond to this threat.137

6.26 These recommendations can serve as guidelines for developing hate speech jurisprudence.



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