We’ve been having an interesting debate on freedom of speech and “hate speech” recently, with many of you weighing in with your thoughts. We had one comment from Marinko, however, who criticised the way the debate was framed:
Why do you propose the banning of [extreme] right wing parties, and not [extreme] left wing parties and communists? … Let’s debate about the banning of [extreme] left-wing parties! Or about extreme parties in general (left and right together)!
We should point out that Debating Europe doesn’t propose the banning of any political parties; we were discussing a suggestion by Spanish MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar that European national governments should pass stronger laws against hate speech. In fact, there are already laws against hate speech in many European countries, including the UK, France and Poland.
However, it happens that Debating Europe is partnered with the World Schools Debating Tournament, which held its grand final yesterday in Romania. One of the motions they have been debating during their competition is: “This house believes that denial of crimes of communist regimes should be illegal.”
Again, this question touches upon issues of freedom of speech. Currently, it is illegal to deny the crimes of Nazism in many countries in Europe (including Germany, Austria, Belgium and Romania), whilst other countries (such as France, Luxembourg and Portugal) have made it illegal to deny the existence of any “crimes against humanity”. And a few countries (including the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary and Poland) have explicitly made it illegal to deny the crimes of communist regimes. Should other European countries adopt such laws?