Not too sure who the European Commission
consulted before releasing "CODE OF CONDUCT ON COUNTERING ILLEGAL HATE SPEECH ONLINE
", but it appears Civil Rights lawyers weren't on the list. Had they been they would all likely have said, "erm, you can't exactly say that
" every time they came across the "illegal hate speech
" statement in the document. The Commission would naturally ask "why not, that's hateful so it's illegal, therefore 'illegal hate speech'
". And hopefully the Civil Rights lawyers would have responded with, "'hate speech' laws don't quite work like that, speech can be hateful but that doesn't automatically make it 'illegal'
What they would be trying to tell the Commission is that 'hate
' is subjective, its in the beholders eye, that they
, the target of hate, have to be able to make a reasonable argument, to reasonable persons of the Court (Jury) the speaker intended to cause them distress, alarm or concerns for their well-being or safety, else it's going to be difficult to prove the Crime absent resorting to appeals to emotion. And even if there were, the crime is in the consequences of the individuals conduct, the words spoken only have meaning relative to the act committed, absent that context, they are just words.
But then again, Google, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft think otherwise, even though they already define violating conduct via their respective Terms of Service agreements. Which brings up a previously discussed point - engaging with Social Media, speech isn't free, its conditional
. So what exactly do they gain from this? */me dons tinfoil hat.
Laws (UK) under which 'speech' may
be deemed 'hateful conduct';
- Defamation Act 2013
- Public Order Act 1986
- Equal Pay Act 1970
- Sex Discrimination Act 1975
(& 1986) (sex/gender/marital/parental status)
- Employment Act 1989
(equal opportunities in the workplace)
- Race Relations Act 1976
- Equality Act 2010
 ordinarily, speech is harmful or hateful when its used to infringe the Rights of others. For example, if it were not possible to block or otherwise 'hide' exposure to an individual on Social Media, speech could be considered 'hateful' were it to impinge on others ability to freely enjoy use of a given platform ("for fear of harassment and abuse") - which highlights two broader issues concerning harmful conduct, that absent physical intervention or violence, it is often in the subjective eye of the beholder, and the strength of their case, rather than an objective concrete manifestation, and that speech considered harmful or hateful on Social Media, whilst not necessarily criminal, can certainly be treated as Terms of Service violations and dealt with appropriately (should behaviour escalate it then becomes an issue for the target to pursue with the Authorities).
 there doesn't appear to be any hard numbers on how great an influence the exercise of emotion has on Jurors but it is a known and studied phenomenon - Emotional Evidence and Jurorsí Judgments: the Promise of Neuroscience for Informing Psychology and Law, Unintended Consequences of Toying with Jurorsí Emotions: The Impact of Disturbing Emotional Evidence on Jurorsí Verdicts, The Emotional Juror, et al.