16 May, 20160 Comments 21 Reports
The Hate Speech Watch in May 2016 is focusing on hate speech against LGBTQI people. We invite you to report online hate speech that targets people’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation. The Internet is full of hatred and incitement towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex people. Research clearly shows hate speech against LGBTI people is a huge problem. A survey conducted by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe in 2012 shows that homophobic and transphobic hate speech is one of the most frequently encountered form of hate speech online. The EU Fundamental Rights found in 2013 that 19% of EU LGBT reported being harassed because they were LGBT. Addressing such hate speech is a cause for action for all as it reaches a huge audience with todays open internet access and can have a harmful impact on individuals and society as a whole. For this reason protecting freedom of expression including of people with different sexual orientations and gender identities is of the utmost importance for all of us who consider Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law the basic principles of the peaceful life of humankind.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe recommendations CM/Rec(2010)5 on combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and specially the Recommendation R(97)20 on “hate speech” provides a strong basis for action and call for measures to combat ‘inciting, spreading or promoting hatred or other forms of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, including in the media and on the Internet’. However, these two legal instruments also remind us that all measures should respect the fundamental right to freedom of expression in accordance with Article 10 of the Convention and the case law of the Court. Freedom of expression argues that the most effective response to hate speech is more speech, and states have a role in ensuring that all voices in a debate can be heard - including the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, without fearing violence. Yet at the same time, states should clearly prohibit the advocacy of homophobic or transphobic hatred that constitutes incitement to imminent hostility, discrimination or violence.For further information visit the the official website of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2016.