Enabling Policies for Responding to "Hate Speech" in Practice

Course Status: 
CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
12 Jan 2015 - 3 Apr 2015
Peter Molnar
Additional information: 
This course is open to students from all departments.

Course instructor: Peter Molnar


“Hate-extremist speech” is a burning issue in many countries. Such speech can be very harmful and also dangerous. But regulation of “hate/extremist speech” can serve as pretext to suppress political dissent and such abusive regulations and/or their arbitrary application are somewhat hidden ways of restricting freedom of the media as well as freedom of speech in general.

The interactive, practice oriented workshop course will examine - from a comparative perspective, in the light of internationally accepted free speech principles and recommendations – that to what extent regulations and other public policies enable effective, legal and extra-legal (including artistic and educational) responses to “hate speech.” These public policies are crucial for enabling societies in their peculiar local context to develop the culture of peaceful and appreciative co-existence in the increasingly diverse societies and well-informed, open, participatory and meaningful public discourse (with free press) in which people can peacefully discuss their differences.

The workshop course will emphasize the significance of the context of speech. It will consider how policies that work in a democracy can be transplantable to other countries after being carefully adopted to the local socio-legal environments with special attention to differences between longer-established and developing democracies as well as semi-democratic, or non-democratic countries. As a comparative exercize, students will form research groups which will present a comparative assessment of their findings in their own countries. Searching for the best possible approaches, the workshop course will discuss some ongoing, key regulatory and other public policy debates about “hate-extremist speech” and access to related information. Readings will include related international court decisions, and comparative examples of using regulation of “hate/extremist speech” as a pretext to suppress political dissent. Relevant media-specific regulations will be also covered taking into consideration the implications of new media technologies.