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Hate Speech - Our Laws

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Hate Speech is horrible . . . but is it a worse thing to place further bans on freedom of speech or to impose some basic standrds of behaviour in a civilized Society?

A Parliamentary Select Committee began an inquiry into hate speech in late March 2005.  No results have been seen as at August 2007.

The purpose of the inquiry was to determine whether current legislation is adequate.

Government administration committee chairwoman Dianne Yates says the Bill of Rights protects people from racial attacks, but not verbal attacks on the basis of a person's religion. She says the Committee will examine the threshold for hate speeches, when it should be applied, and when a joke becomes so bad it prevents someone from functioning properly.

Hate speech legislation from other countries, such as Canada, will be examined.


You will read and hear a lot about hate speech over the next two years.

 

This is the term given to nasty statements made against one particular group in society.  You want examples?  Well, "niggers should fry" and "homos are filthy" and "Catholic dogs" would qualify.

 

Shocking?  You betcha!  

 

But should such speech constitute a crime? 

 

Where do you draw the line?

There is a distinction between absolute freedom of speech and speech inciting criminal activity. Should there be an in-between category making it a crime to make denigrating comments about one group in society?   Such a law could outlaw Irish jokes and, where hate speech laws exist, gay rights activists have prosecuted church groups for promoting those pa

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