Does freedom of speech triumph all?
International communication networks, a rapid technological progress and the unlimited flow of information have created space for nurturing racism and xenophobia, enabling to reach a wide range of audience.
Should the freedom of expression always come first? Do we definitely need the protection from simply hateful words? What is the actual impact of hatred on its target? Is the violation of one´s personal dignity the main issue or are there other crucial consequences at stake? Should the states be mainly responsible for a safe online environment? And if not, then who else should be held accountable for enforcing and monitoring hate speech regulations online? Are the legal restrictions a right way how to combat the hate speech? What is the missing piece within the efforts to properly address this phenomenon.
Let’s talk hate speech online was a panel discussion that Måndag designed and organised with the University of Helsinki. The panelists were: Eliška Pírková who is a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki, a journalist and activist Mariam Abdulkarim, a member of the Parlament Jani Toivola and the project coordinator for the No Hate Speech Movement Sampo Villanen. The conversation was lively and addressed the terminology and its use, the role of virtual environments in today’s society both as platforms that on one hand enable hate speech to be distributed widely but also as a counterforce that makes it easier for personal stories and information on the matter to be widely spread. The event was a conversation opener and the work goes on.