4 April, 2016

Refugee Crisis Exposes the Lack of Clarity on what is Hate Speech

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Category: Combating online hate, Discrimination, Europe, Human Rights, National campaigns, Refugees
Menno Ettema
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Translation of the press release issued by the National Youth Council of Slovenia in conjunction with the extraordinary meeting organised by the National Assembly’s Committee on internal affairs, public administration and local self-government. The Committee aimed to discuss the hate speech increase in Slovenia due to the refugee crisis.

Original after English

Ljubljana, 16. February 2016

Hate speech should not have a place in society

Hate speech, as defined by the Council of Europe, covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin. Other forms of discrimination and prejudice are covered also such as: Anti-Gypsyism, Christian-phobia, Islamophobia, sexism and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Freedom of the individual, and all our actions we are taking should reflect our own and each other’s rights. Civilizational norms, which were built throughout history, should allow freer life of every individual as a part of community. In such a situation we cannot afford to put someone in a position of inferiority. Nowadays, it happens very often that people do this by words, which unfortunately we cannot take back.

As a society, we should have zero tolerance towards any kind of intolerance and hate speech. Responsibility for achieving this must be taken by all of us: as individuals, through the work of non-governmental organizations, and of course as a country. In Slovenia there is no system in place, which can effectively prevent the occurrences of hate speech. The state as a regulator of the public space does little or nothing to change that. Hate speech in Slovenia, in terms of implementing the rule of law by relevant institutions, isn’t prosecuted. Even now when the problem has increased there is no institutional subsystem that would address the issue. Moreover, non-governmental organizations have done the most to address the issue of hate speech in Slovenia, but our actions are limited to raising awareness and alerting about hate speech. The legal position of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office dated 27.02.2013 reads: “Hate speech is a social phenomenon that goes beyond the offenses of public incitement to hatred, violence or intolerance under Article 297 of KZ-1. Therefore it is not necessary that each detected form of hate speech, dissemination of prejudice or discrimination, even when unconstitutional in terms of the first paragraph of Article 63 of the Constitution, (already) qualifies for prosecution. But isn’t the first paragraph of Article 63 of the Constitution clear when it stipulates: “Any incitement to national, racial, religious or other discrimination and the inflaming of national, racial, religious or other hatred and intolerance.” Obviously, the Constitution also guaranteed the previously mentioned: freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

This lack of clarity and the absence of legal practice in the area of prosecution of hate speech led us to a situation where the debate about what hate speech is and what is not, has become a matter of interpretation by various camps or groups. Even the biggest excess of hate speech, call for shooting on national border, which unified the camps and groups, will not have an epilogue at the court.  This situation itself implicitly promotes hate speech, since there is nobody ever (almost) held responsible for it. When this kind of situation is combined with an extraordinary event (e.g the refugee and migrant crisis) and / or the still difficult economic-social situation of a significant number of people in the country, we have a situation where even a spark can cause an explosion of occurrences and actions which should be inadmissible for a modern European country which is the way Slovenes like to see our country.
We therefore suggest that Slovenia tackles prevention of hate speech systematically, with a focus on three levels:

1.  The state should clearly outline the criminal-legal arrangements regarding hate speech wherein also taking under consideration the constitutionally guaranteed rights as duties.
2. With a comprehensive approach it should ensure there is education and awareness among children, young people and other social groups on hate speech and the problems which it causes.
3. Public officials and decision makers should loudly and clearly refuse and condemn every kind of expression of hate speech.

It is vital for everyone to understand the fact that hate speech is not a problem which is present only in parts of our society. Hate speech, and all of what arises from it, is a problem of the entire Slovenia and the whole of Europe.

During the debate about hate speech at the relevant committee of the National Assembly Tin Kampl, president of MSS, pointed out: “We cannot allow that, under the pretext of freedom of speech, hate speech will get encouragement and promotion. Human rights and freedom of the individual are limited by freedoms and rights of someone else. The same should be the case in the relationship between freedom of speech and hate speech. As a society, we need to be mature enough and be prepared to achieve zero tolerance towards any form of intolerance and hate speech. ”

 

National Youth Council of Slovenia leads the National Coordination Committee of No Hate Speech Movement. Position of the National Youth Council of Slovenia does not reflect the opinion of the Slovene No Hate Speech Movement.

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Ljubljana, 16. februar 2016

Sovražni govor ne sme imeti mesta v družbi

Sovražni govor, kot ga je opredelil Odbor ministrov Sveta Evrope, je vsaka oblika izražanja, ki širi, razpihuje, spodbuja ali opravičuje rasno sovraštvo, ksenofobijo, antisemitizem in druge oblike sovraštva, ki temeljijo na nestrpnosti. Te pa vključujejo: nestrpnost, izraženo z agresivnim nacionalizmom in etnocentrizmom, diskriminacijo in sovraštvom proti manjšinam, priseljencem ali njihovim potomcem. Tudi druge oblike diskriminacije in predsodkov, kot so protiromstvo, kristjanofobija, islamofobija, sovraštvo do žensk, seksizem in diskriminacija na podlagi spolne usmeritve, jasno spada v okvir boja proti sovražnemu govoru.

Svobodo posameznika bomo zagotavljali tako, da bomo, preden se bomo ob svojih dejanjih sklicevali na lastno svobodo, upoštevali svobodo drugega. Civilizacijske norme, ki smo jih izgradili skozi zgodovino, morajo omogočati svobodno življenje slehernega posameznika oziroma posameznice v določeni skupnosti. V nobenem trenutku ali situaciji si ne smemo privoščiti, da bi koga postavili v položaj manjvrednosti. Še najpogosteje to storimo ravno z besedami, ki jih, ko so izrečene, žal ne moremo vzeti nazaj.

Kot družba moramo imeti ničelno toleranco do vseh oblik nestrpnosti in sovražnega govora. Odgovornost za to moramo prevzeti vsi: kot posamezniki, v okviru nevladnih organizacij ter seveda kot država. V Sloveniji nimamo vzpostavljenega sistema oz. vzvodov, ki bi učinkovito preprečevali pojavnost sovražnega govora, obenem pa  tudi država kot regulator javnega prostora na tem področju naredi premalo oz. nič. Sovražni govor se v Sloveniji, z vidika institucij pravne države, ne preganja, niti se s povečano problematiko ne ukvarja kakšen drug institucionalni podsistem. Še največ na tem področju naredimo nevladne organizacije, ki pa z aktivnostmi in kampanjami lahko predvsem ozaveščamo in opozarjamo. Boj proti sovražnemu govoru brez ustrezne podpore s strani države ni mogoč in od nevladnega sektorja se ne more pričakovati, da ga bodo bile same.

V pravnem stališču Vrhovnega državnega tožilstva RS z dne 27.2.2013 je zapisano: »Sovražni govor je družbeni pojav, ki presega meje kaznivega dejanja Javnega spodbujanja sovraštva, nasilja ali nestrpnosti po 297. členu KZ-1. Zato ni nujno, da vsaka zaznana oblika sovražnega govora, razširjanja predsodkov ali diskriminacije, čeprav protiustavna v smislu prvega odstavka 63. člena Ustave RS, (že) izpolnjuje pogoje za kazenski pregon. Spomnimo, da prvi odstavek 63. člena Ustave RS določa: »Protiustavno je vsakršno spodbujanje k narodni, rasni, verski ali drugi neenakopravnosti ter razpihovanje narodnega, rasnega, verskega ali drugega sovraštva in nestrpnosti.« Seveda sta v ustavi zagotovljeni tudi že prej omenjena svoboda izražanja ter svoboda tiska.

Ta nejasnost in odsotnost pravnih praks na področju preganjanja sovražnega govora nas je pripeljala v situacijo, ko je razprava o tem, kaj sovražni govor je in kaj ni, postala stvar interpretacije tega ali onega tabora ali skupine. Še največji eksces, ki je do neke mere celo poenotil te tabore in skupine, govorimo o pozivu k streljanju na slovenski državni meji, svojega epiloga ne bo doživel na sodišču. Takšno stanje že samo po sebi implicitno spodbuja sovražnega govora, saj zanj nihče nikoli ne odgovarja. Ko pa je takšno stanje kombinirano z izrednim dogodkom (npr. begunsko in migrantsko krizo) in/ali še vedno težavnim ekonomsko-socialnim položajem precejšnjega števila ljudi v državi, pa dobimo situacijo, v kateri lahko že iskre sprožijo eksplozijo dejanj, ki bi za sodobno evropsko družbo, za kakršno se v Sloveniji imamo, morala biti nedopustna.

Državi zato predlagamo, da se področja preprečevanja sovražnega govora loti sistemsko, in sicer na treh nivojih:

  1. Na področju sovražnega govora mora jasno začrtati kazensko-pravno ureditev, pri čemer naj upošteva tako ustavno zagotovljene pravice kot tudi dolžnosti.
  2. S celovitim pristopom naj poskrbi za izobraževanje in osveščanje otrok in mladih ter drugih družbenih skupin o sovražnem govoru in problemih, ki jih ta povzroča.
  3. Nosilci javnih funkcij naj vsako pojav sovražnega govora jasno in glasno zavrnejo in obsodijo.

Pri vsem skupaj pa je potrebno izhajati iz dejstva, da sovražni govor ni problematičen ali prisoten samo v delu naše družbe. Sovražni govor, in vse, kar iz njega izhaja, je problem celotne slovenske in tudi evropske družbe.

Ob razpravi o sovražnem govoru na pristojnem odboru v Državnem zboru je Tin Kampl, predsednik MSS, izpostavil: »Ne smemo dopustiti, da bi pod pretvezo svobode govora dovolili razpihovanje in spodbujanje sovražnega govora. Kot velja za človekove pravice in svobodo posameznika, je le-ta omejena s svobodo nekoga drugega. Enako velja za razmerje med svobodo govora in sovražnim govorom. Kot družba moramo biti dovolj zreli in doseči ničelno toleranco do kakršnekoli oblike nestrpnosti ali sovražnega govora.«

Mladinski svet Slovenije vodi nacionalni odbor gibanja Ne sovražnemu govoru (No Hate Speech Movement), ki je nadaljevanje kampanje, ki jo je med leti 2013 in 2014 oblikoval in vodil mladinski sektor Sveta Evrope. Leta 2015 je kampanja prerasla v gibanje. Cilj kampanje je boj proti rasizmu in diskriminaciji, ki se izražata skozi sovražni govor na spletu, in krepitev kompetenc, ki jih mladi in mladinske organizacije potrebujejo za prepoznavanje takšnih kršitev človekovih pravic in ukrepanje proti njim. Stališče Mladinskega sveta Slovenije ne odraža stališč gibanja Ne sovražnemu govoru.

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