Implementing regulatory standards on combating hate speech (challenges and opportunities) – Pre 03 2021
This Pre-event will discuss with representatives of all stakeholders the challenges of implementing effectively the regulatory frameworks being developed in Europe today. With the aim to inform the ongoing work of the two CoE experts committees and the CY-T, and foster stronger multi-stakeholder cooperation to deliver human rights and rule of law online.
Council of Europe Monitoring bodies1 record an increase in hate speech online, with detrimental consequences for human dignity and the enjoyment of their human rights by members of minority groups, including Roma, refugees, LGBTI persons, as well as persons in different professions, including particularly female journalist and politicians.
When addressing hate speech, in terms of applicable liability and required responses, it’s important to distinguish the following categories:
- hate speech that is subject to criminal liability,
- hate speech that does not reach the threshold for criminal liability, but is subject to civil or administrative liability and
- hate speech that does not entail criminal, civil or administrative liability but still raises concerns in terms of tolerance, civility and respect for the rights of others.
There is common agreement on the principle that hate speech that passes the threshold of criminal liability should be sanctioned both off- and online. Similarly, appropriate measures should address online hate speech that is sanctioned under civil and administrative law. How to enforce such measures and uphold ‘the rule of law’ in the online environment however remains one of the many points of debate.
Regulatory approaches to address hate speech online are developing at a rapid pace in Europe, proposed by national authorities, the EU (e.g., via the Digital Services Act) and by internet intermediaries themselves.
The Council of Europe seeks to provide guidance to its member states in devising a human rights framework to address the growing challenge of hate speech, online and offline.
The Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (ETS No. 189), concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems, extends the Convention’s scope, including its substantive, procedural and international cooperation provisions. It provides framework to address online hate speech that passed the criminal liability threshold. In addition, the framework for procedural powers and international cooperation tools provided by the Budapest Convention extends to any criminal activity, and can be used for investigation of and cooperation on hate speech offences reaching criminal liability threshold. Two Expert Committees of the Council of Europe have been tasked to draft soft law and guiding principles to address hate speech and content moderation related issues based on the evolving case law of the European Court of Human Rights and existing Council of Europe standards.2
1 See among others: ECRI Annual Reports (coe.int); Country-specific monitoring of the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (coe.int); Anti-Gypsyism / Discrimination (coe.int); Combating Sexist Hate Speech (coe.int).
10.00 Welcome, introduction to aim of the session, and speakers – Menno Ettema, co-secretariat to Committee of Experts on Combating Hate Speech, Council of Europe, Anti-discrimination Department.
10.10 Short presentations on CoE regulatory and other approaches to support member states and other stakeholders combat hate speech.
• Miriam Bahamonde Blanco, Member of Cybercrime Convention Committee, speaking on online hate speech from the perspective of T-CY standards and Budapest Convention
• Maria Bjarnadottir, Chair of Committee of Expert on Combatting Hate Speech, speaking on new committee of ministers recommendation on comprehensive approach to combating hate speech, including in online environment.
• Alexandra Borchardt, member of Committee of Expert on Freedom of Expression and Digital Technologies, Speaking on new committee of ministers recommendaiton on the impact of digital technologies on freedom of expression and the adopted guidelines on legal and procedural frameworks on self- and co- regulatory mechanisms of content moderation.
10.30 open discussion with participants on the practical challenges of implementation of regulatory frameworks and comprehensive approach to combat hate speech within a human rights framework.
Two guiding questions: 1. Online Illegal Hate Speech: takedown and criminal prosecution, what may we expect from Digital platforms and national law enforcement?
2. Reporting mechanisms for online hate speech: what to do with grey area cases?
"Models of governance of online hate speech" – Council of Europe publication – Alexander Brown (May 2020)
Until 20 Mai 2021.
Miriam Bahamonde Blanco, Member of Cybercrime Convention Committee, from the Ministry of Justice of Spain, speaking on online hate speech from the perspective of T-CY standards and Budapest Convention
Maria Bjarnadottir, Chair of Committee of Expert on Combatting Hate Speech, Vice-chair Icelandic Media Commission, speaking on new committee of ministers recommendation on comprehensive approach to combating hate speech, including in online environment
Alexandra Borchardt, member of Committee of Expert on Freedom of Expression and Digital Technologies, Speaking on new committee of ministers recommendaiton on the impact of digital technologies on freedom of expression and the adopted guidelines on legal and procedural frameworks on self- and co- regulatory mechanisms of content moderation.