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Why tackle hate speech?

Why tackle hate speech?

by Admin User - Number of replies: 0

The explosion of hate speech, further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, represents an unprecedented challenge for our societies. Although hate speech has always existed, its ever-growing impact fueled by digital communication can be devastating not only for those targeted, but also for societies at large.

Hate speech is a denial of the values of tolerance, inclusion, diversity and the very essence of human rights norms and principles. It may expose those targeted to discrimination, abuse and violence, but also social and economic exclusion. When left unchecked, expressions of hatred can even harm societies, peace and development, as it lays the ground for conflict, tension and human rights violations, including atrocity crimes.

Addressing and countering hate speech is, therefore, a necessity. It requires a holistic approach, mobilizing society as a whole. All individuals and organizations – including governments, the private sector, media, Internet corporations, faith leaders, educators, youth and civil society – have a moral duty to speak out firmly against hate speech and a crucial role to play in countering this scourge.

Importantly, combating hate speech first requires monitoring and analysing it to fully understand its dynamics. Since the spread of hateful rhethoric can be an early warning of violence – including atrocity crimes – limiting hate speech could contribute to mitigating its impact. The authors of hate speech should also be held accountable, to end impunity. Monitoring and analyzing hate speech is a priority for many UN entities, including UNESCO - the United Nations’ specialized agency for education, science and culture - which supports and undertakes research, which supports research to better understand its dynamics.