hate-speechLast year, we touched a couple of times on the question of freedom of speech and the rise of extremist political groups in the EU. We wanted to continue the debate today, and during our interview with Juan Fernando López Aguilar – an MEP with the  Social Democrats – we passed on a couple more of your comments to get his response.

We were keen to ask López Aguilar for his reaction not only because he is Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament, but also because, in a speech earlier this year, he called for tough new laws banning “hate speech” in the EU:

aguilarIntolerance is sweeping across Europe and is manifested not only by extremist parties, but also through prejudice and stigma, which are increasingly common in government parties in the Member States of the European Union…

Therefore, we must respond not only politically, but with European legislation, reforming the framework decision of 2008 and, based on the values of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, introduce legislation to strengthen the protection of victims and establish a new legal framework with criminal laws and penalties to combat not only the politics of hate, but also hate speech as well.

It should be pointed out, of course, that the European Parliament does not have the power to unilaterally ban hate speech in Europe. Rather, MEPs can (as they have quite recently) call on national governments to strengthen their approach.

With that understood, what did our commenters have to say? Well, many of them were highly critical of the idea. Sunny, for example, believes that banning hate speech would be a serious infringement of freedom of speech. Is this something López Aguilar has considered?

What about the comment from Ed, arguing that denying media exposure to extremist parties will only cause their support to grow. Ed thinks that the best way to combat the rise of extremism is to openly debate and challenge their ideas in public. Would  López Aguilar agree?

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Chris James

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!

100 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think? Would banning hate speech be a serious infringement of freedom of speech? Does denying media exposure to extremist parties only increase their support? And is the best way to combat extremism to openly debate and challenge such ideas in public? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we'll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

  1. avatar
    Kypros Savva

    Yes it should! The european sentiment of justice and our common discourse should be intolerant towards intolerance. Nazism and stalinism were once tolerated by the west, and this lead to IIWW.

  2. avatar

    There is nothing like “hate speech”, there are just people with different oppinions. If you meet a “hate speecher” you can just ignore him or trade Arguements with him. Ban him from speeking doesn’t let me hear his arguements. So yes, it’s an infringement of freedom.

    • avatar

      Very interesting comment there. So you think hate speech should only apply to some individuals and not all. So we shouldn’t do anything a Golden Dawn member says “Let’s kill the muslims they’re coming to mess up our countries” but if muslims say the same thing it should count as hate speech?

  3. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    And who will define what we can and cannot talk about? Leftwingers? Priests? The Pope? So NO. And Kypros, please check history books before you make such statements about what caused WWII. You are confusing the Cold War with it…

  4. avatar
    Fabian Depester

    No, because it doesn’t change the problem and it turns into a society that dont understand the need of freedom of speech anymore.

  5. avatar
    Ioana Anagnos

    yes because hate speech cannot contribute to common discourse, its driven by something more sinister and would be defined as something other than speech.

    • avatar

      But who are you to make that judgement? Just because you prefer something doesn’t mean you are the moral authority and it certainly doesn’t mean other points of view shouldn’t be tolerated. We are all equal, so why do you think your judgement is superior?

  6. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    It is the way you express your opinion that counts.. You have every right to hold to any opinion, even if that one is not shared by the majority on sensitive issues such immigration gay marriages or Islam in Europe etc.. But if you express these beliefs with hatred, no valid arguments, facts or just rants then you are just become a biggot with nothing constructive to add to any debate and with the only purpose to offend groups that you do not like… So then yes, hate speech is unacceptable and should be banned, but not the freedom to express your honest opinion on issues like immigration.. In other words watch you language and arguments that you use and you will be able to get your point accross just fine without insulting or stigmatizing certain groups of people just because yoy do not like them…

  7. avatar
    Kim Jacobsen

    No, the moment you have someone who can determine what you can say. You create a dangerous precedence, what is legal to say today, might be illegal tomorrow.

  8. avatar
    saviour cachia

    We are free. Is it true? I wonder because there is so much injustices in Europe that I wonder whether we are living in harmony and certainly new groups awakes to fight injustices. Perhaps not in a legitimate manner, but still Europe, especially European Union, should see to it not to add salt to injury. Malta is well hit with the problem of illegal immigrants. We want proportionality and burden sharing, if it need be, even the freedom of movement within the EU members boarder should be controlled and of those workers coming outside the Schengen areas. There is a limit to everything. Malta’s size is that it is, and over-burdening the people with foreigners is too hot a potato. EU is being ineffective and not just.

  9. avatar
    marinko nizic

    Why you propose the banning of the right wing party, and not the left wing and comunists. They’re bigger evil in the left then in the right. You will not to say me that the justice musn’t be based on the right(s)

  10. avatar
    marinko nizic

    Let’s debating about banning of the left-wing partys! Or about extrem-partys in general (left and right together)…Why you stimulate antidemocracy…Are you serious, my friends ?!

    • avatar

      Any party that supports the EU is antidemocracy, so should they all be banned, then?

    • avatar

      I don’t think the proposal to have a state police that will punish you for saying “nig*er” or “fag*t” or “coolie” or making a nazi salute, it’s a means of making sure that such practices are not done in a manner that denigrates some members of society or to praise things that if embraced by some could spell dangers to the lives of others. Would you have the same opinion if tomorrow some islamist extremist began to speak in public about the benefits of suicide bombing? As it now stands anyone who preaches jihadist ideologies in Europe is subjected to censorship even if no clear law warrants it. In cases like that it doesn’t take a degree in sociology or political science to realise that censorship is the best course!

  11. avatar
    Ben Ladc

    Hate speech should lead to serious penalties! We must not accept hate speech like homophobic speech or any hate speech against a specific skin color, religion, or sexual orientation. No to hate speech !!

  12. avatar

    I agree hate speech should be banned but perhaps indeed further defined (if it’s not already, I’m not sure) as incitement of hatred and/or violence toward a certain group of people. I suppose anyone has the right to say “I hate gays” (for example) but to go on saying that all gays should be killed or that gays are inferior or immoral or ruin our societies, unless supported by firm evidence (which doesn’t exist) – this should not be allowed! Of course in day-to-day speech among people you can’t control this but to hear it from political figures or media – this should be banned!

    • avatar

      Since there is plenty of evidence that bankers ruin our societies, along with their political allies, am I allowed to say I think they should all be hanged? Starting with madame Lagarde and the directors of her criminal enterprise called IMF?

  13. avatar
    Paulo Brandão

    Well, I think that freedom of speech is important to people understand that hate speech is bad. The answer is not banning it but make the people say no to it…

  14. avatar
    Nikolai Holmov

    Perhaps it is time to stop banning things and stop the knee-jerk reaction to have to be seen to do “something” for the sake of “doing something”.

    Very careful consideration should be given to banning anything – and even more so when any such ban may be seen to encroach on the very foundations of a democratic system.

    Despite the fact I seriously dislike the irresponsibility that many people have when employing their right to free speech and freedom of expression, I have a far greater fear of surrendering, even in part, a core democratic right – as somebody else will want to ban a little bit more of that same democratic right, and then somebody else over another issue ad infinitum until society is left with only pleasantries to exchange between each other.

    Will I suffer the ranting babble of bigots and fools to protect a core democratic value? As much as I would prefer not to, a core principle is under threat, and thus to protect that core principle I will suffer their less than erudite ramblings.

    • avatar

      The sort of democracy you seem to be defending doesn’t really exist and fighting it will be nothing short of trying to be seen “doing something”. The aim here is not suppress people’s freedom of speech, but by ensure a peaceful existence within a diverse society. By banning the nazi salute Germany didn’t violate freedom of speech. It sent a clear message to those who sympathise with nazi ideology. It removed from them a platform from which to disseminate their harmful ideologies. There are some basic conditions that must exist before we can speak of democracy. Trying to “defend” it by allowing others to destroy the rights of dignity of others is nothing more than fundamentalist thinking.

  15. avatar
    Ewa Str

    We should not ban hate speach. It will not solve the problem. We should consider the reason of such kind of speach and then try to deal with them.

  16. avatar

    Though I hate those who spout thier bile (as if anyone wants to hear it ) I would defend their right to do so. Are we so weak that we need protecting from the state ,are we not capable of ignoring or countering the haters ?

  17. avatar
    Marco Loureiro

    When talking about our liberties, we should first define clearly our obligations twoards neighours in this world. Banning hate and attacks on human rights should be a reality by now. Somehow these things just get swept under the mat!

  18. avatar
    Nuno Sousa

    Hate should be demotivated but stoping another person from saying somethign shouldn’t be illegal.

  19. avatar
    catherine benning

    This question is seriously disturbing. How could a government of any democracy even consider asking it’s people to ‘consent’ to banning their fundamental right of free speech or the Freedom of Expression.

    Freedom to express means just that. To express whatever is being felt inside us as human beings should be free to tell openly.

    Who decides on what is ‘hate’ crime? And hate against what? Selective politically correct rubbish as we see now is childish and smacks of the nursery. We are reduced to nincompoops by it. To express discontent is the ‘right’ of every person, child or adult. To despise or abhor is not a crime. It is a natural instinct of the human condition. And all cultures and peoples have different levels of discontent or to what they find unacceptable.

    For example: over the last week a few UK men decided they wanted to raise money for a charity and to do this they wore mankini’s and bicycled through the city of Birmingham to draw attention to their cause. Parts of this city are segregated by Muslim residents and they do not like the indigenous culture moving around in that area. As a result they came out in force and began stoning the men as they passed, justifying their behaviour by saying it was a Muslim area and that others did not have a ‘right’ to enter wearing outfits they found abhorrent. Police came and the area was cleared there were no arrests. Many considered this act as ‘hate’ crime. But those people, like any other people, must have the ‘right’ to express their discontent. They did not have the ‘right’ to throw stones or physically attack the charity riders, but, they had every right to express their inner sense of outrage at what they feel is unacceptable.

    Likewise, if homosexuals want to express their difference from heterosexuals and as a result decide to have a Gay Pride parade through an area that is filled with families and children, as they do here in the UK, then if they have the permission to do this parade, the locals in the area have every right to express their discontent at having sexual deviance exposed blatantly in their streets. They do not have the ‘right’ to attack in any way, but, they do have every right to express their views. Just as Gays have every ‘right’ to express their wishes for acceptance of their difference as they have been doing for some time now by their Gay Pride parades.

    Again, who is to decide what and who is spouting hate? How far do you go in interpreting ‘hate’ ? Is to dislike hate? Are we no longer to be able to dislike or feel offended and say so? I find it utterly offensive to see women covered from head to toe by a burka as it is a symbol of subjugation to an idea that berates women for being born female, and through that womanhood being sexually attractive to men. To force a girl and a woman to cover their bodies in order to signify they are evil beings unless completely hidden from society is an outrage. If you think about it deeply, the fact it is allowed at all in a European society is an anomaly. Would it be acceptable for any one of us to be compelled not to express our discontent at such an expression of ‘hate’ toward women? Must we be banned for expressing our feelings of being made scapegoats to the sexuality of men because it could be considered a hate crime to speak out?

    As I wrote in my first line, be very afraid of a ruling class who would even suggest the thought of ‘banning’ speech, no matter whether it was voicing the emotions we have on any matter pro or against any subject or behaviour. Muffling the senses is an oppression we could not live with. And should not live with. Hitler would have had a field day if the nations people had been willing to allow and vote themselves ready to be forced by him into the right to be treated as Jews were in the concentration camps of that era.

    And those of you who feel this would be a ‘good’ way to go are out of your minds.

    • avatar
      Anders Larson

      Excellently put. Freedom of speech leads to freedom of the press. All of them require freedom of thought. We must remember that beliefs are held by individuals, and only tyrannical and psychopathic regimes turn that statement around. Against the background of the banning of hate speech, the very presumption of innocence is at stake. Questioning this is tyrannical.

      Political and ideological difference is essential to a healthy dialogue, which in turn needs to be there in order to be relied upon by the first principles of our shared basic liberties.

      The banning of any kind of speech is an assault on liberty.

  20. avatar
    Don Bourletsikas

    There is a saying; If you repress a populace they will gain momentum… To be honest the European policies f***** up Greece therefore suffer the consequences.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Don Bourletsikas
      Methinks the Greek people had an awful lot to do with their current plight. The EU elite just rubbed salt into the terrible and depressing wounds.

      I wish Greece well BUT I fear it is heading towards a nightmare.

    • avatar

      Why? I don’t see you guys lining up to get out of the Euro? You’d be better off for doing so, so the question is why aren’t you doing it? Did Samaras tell you the earth would explode if you did? Or what he really meant is, don’t endanger his future income-tax-exempt unelected Eurosoviet job.

    • avatar

      While we are at it, why don’t we also ban Marxist parties from existing.

    • avatar

      If they’re use hate speech they shouldn’t be immune from the same punishments as others. It’s a ban on the speech not the people who make them!

    • avatar

      define hate

  21. avatar
    Gonçalo QuelhasLima

    Michail Panchev do you have any idea what is Zionism? How could you compare it with Islamism? Zionism is not a religion…!

  22. avatar
    Lorenzo Maria Perrone

    As John Stuart Mill would say: “But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.” (On liberty)
    However, having said that, I believe that people inciting to racial anger or sexual/religious/whatever discriminations should be persecuted with fines or penal measures without hesitating as it comes natural that the liberty of expressing our own opinion doesn’t mean breaking the most elementary laws of civil coexistence.

    • avatar

      Well said Lorenzo. The decent sort of people must make their views heard and not be stifled by Nazis etc. It is a criminal offence in the UK to promote violence etc. and rightly too.

  23. avatar
    james peplow

    dear lopez,

    why don’t you ask why intolerance is sweeping in to europe,instead of trying to put a carpet on the real problem..the real problem is the financial crisis,that the common people are suffering with,and that’s the eu’s responsability…fix that,instead of blaminig exposure of hate.history has teached us,that intollerance grew,when the people suffered

  24. avatar
    Sunny Cvitkovic Anderson

    Kypros Savva, Nazism and stalinism were tolerated by POLITICIANS and the richest people in Europe, not the common people! Now we will be prosecuted for saying something and politicians and corporations will continue “doing business” with the bad people all over the world. At the same time same politician will give us lip service! NO! We are not stupid!

    • avatar

      i’m aware of you are not stupid, due to the fact you managed to understand this article

  25. avatar
    james peplow

    and lets be honest..you should say there’s already a big restriction on these so called parties you’re mentioning..i rarely see beppe grillo on tv to give you an example.do you still think the people are stupid..i bet you wouldn’t like having grillo’s party ruling italy,and they are not extremist..they don’t get exposure,and everyone knows why..it would be a real thorn in the eu’s spine..i should think some parties should have more exposure..

  26. avatar
    Ronan J Le Bras

    Freedom of the press is freedom of the press. Anything short of that is not freedom of the press. As long as the press is not owned by the government or a few billionaires, all is fine. Journalists should be able to report on whatever they wish to. The more articles, the more opinions, the better. To suppress any opinion is the start of totalitarianism. The media reporting on extreme parties is the media doing their job.

    • avatar

      What is an ‘extreme’ party? In my view, any political party that keeps enthusiastically embracing the undemocratic EU and the wealth-destroying Euro is extremist.

  27. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Sadly it would.. If you ban them completely they are going to use it as an argument of being silenced and having the freedom of speech repressed.. If our leaders want to push these parties out of the Parliament then they should try to never create crisis or a situation like the ones we are living now in Europe that give these parties an opportunity to rise to prominence.. In other words if they don’t mess up our economies pushing us into poverty, then those parties will never find a way into Parliament.. It happened in Germany during the 30’s and it is happening in Greece as we speak…

    • avatar

      I’d say the EU/IMF/ECB represent the Fourth Reich a lot more effective than the socalled Golden Dawn.

  28. avatar
    Christian Weale

    I despise Far Right Ideology, but freedom of Speech is at the heart of being European and shouldn’t be restricted, I do however believe that there are responsibilities attached to rights and the freedom of speech. To intentionally promote hatred towards groups based on generalisations and with intent to harm isn’t acceptable, groups and individuals should be accountable under law.

    • avatar

      Fascism, communism and socialism are all collectivist, whereas libertarianism and conservatism are more individualist. Why is a left wing collectivist ideology like fascism always referred to as ‘far right’?

  29. avatar
    Rudi Spoljarec

    if “hate speech” would have been forbidden, it would infringe freedom of speech. haters would hate anyway , so it’s better if they declare themselves , and we recognize them . On the other hand : who is in charge to judge that “hate speech” is real hate??: left or right or central government, because it seems that in modern world politics creates moral and etic , and that’s not correct.

  30. avatar

    I think that those who make their opinions known publicly should be prepared to first to suffer them. Then they will know first hand what it is like and encourage good opinions rather than the awful views of racists, religious extremists etc. Hitler, just one man, caused the deaths of millions and the suffering of more because good people did not stand up for justice, integrity and freedom.

    • avatar

      But you are not standing for freedom is you want to ban free speech. You are doing the opposite, you are stifling individual freedom and suppressing thoughts because you feel your opinion is better. I could also say that your speech is “hate speech” because I don’t like what you are saying.

  31. avatar

    So called “hate speech” is an invention of the EU establishment. Before the Nineties there was no such thing as “hate speech” in Europe.
    Creating provisions to punish “hate speech” is part of exercising power in the extremely heterogenous and arbitrary society this same establishment is creating.
    It is all about abolishing freedom of speech, one of the basic achievements of civil society (“bürgerliche Gesellschaft”). What we are heading for is a kind of “Biedermeier”, the repressive era in the first half of the 19th century in Continental Europe.
    The EU is supposed to be an economic community first of all but despite of this it is usurpating increasingly cultural competencies. The argument is probably that everyhing is somehow related to the economy.
    And “hate speech” which mostly critical speaking is obviously desturbing the economic process.
    By the way, almost every topic Debating Europe is suggesting here has something to do with exercising supranationl power. National power follows different rules and in the best case is bound by democracy, which supranational power is never. Supranational power can be seen analog to aristocratic, theocratic and dynastic power of previous times – free speech is desturbing.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Ah, but Bastian, the accusation of hate speech came long before 1990’s Europe. It took off in 1960’s USA. I have an American family member who when he first came to the UK 42 years ago, he is in his sixties, he was appalled by what he heard the British saying in their ‘free speech’ without flinching. He says in those days he was so amazed at how they could speak from the heart on issues that in America would have brought a neck tie party to his door. He has never really come to terms with speaking openly about politically correct matters to this day. To try and discuss with him any matter leaves him squirming with discomfort, repressed and fearful that if he tells his truth he is somehow committing a crime. It makes him laugh now when we draw his attention to it. But from his early, very early, school days he was taught in the USA that there were certain matters you could not discuss unless you were going to be an outcast or called unpatriotic for doing so.




      This was a man who was raise with the idea that to be forthright and honest about government politically correct policy was wrong and that doing so would mean you may face jail if you didn’t stop. The truth is, he was and still is afraid of the consequence of honesty on matters of grave social importance..

      So, this is a not a European move of late. It is a move that has been adopted by governments throughout the world and the US superpower has used it on just about every political policy for decades and spread it, as it is easy to oppress when no one has the courage to speak out against it. Europe is a relatively recent convert of this game.

  32. avatar
    Vassiliki Xifteri

    The problem is not the extremist parties. The problem is that we need to focus on a true democracy where people would have only choices for positive development as individuals and as a society.

  33. avatar
    Craciun Ioan

    The “hate speech” cannot have anything constructive in it, it is not a desirable thing and it causes nothing but violence and destruction, so YES it should be BANNED.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Craciun loan:

      Would you be kind enough to give a link to or explain what ‘hate’ speech is to you. And how it should be banned? How it is you feel that speech, of any kind, is going against what a person already feels in their mind and spirit before hearing someone else put that feeling in words? And, how that person would be changed in mind and spirit by not hearing voiced what is in them?

  34. avatar
    Alex Sekkpefb

    But should groups who plan banning freedom of speech, and boycotting fundamental rights and principles of the Union have freedom of speech in the first place? I mean the picture you used gives me thrills down my spine, and the mere existence of parties like that limits the freedom of speech of other people like Jews, Muslims, Immigrants, LGBT and a big etc. Theres a difference between freedom of speech and using it to pervert it in such twisted ways, which in my opinion is what they are trying to do.

  35. avatar
    Tudor Nicolae Nimara

    Yes, and explain to them why they are wrong.

    If you cannot do that, then reconsider your self-assumed ideological supremacy.

    Besides, covering up extremism is like covering up center party politics’ f*ck ups

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      Can you please explain what it is you mean when you write extremism? As each person has a different view of what this is. Can you give an example of what is extreme in your view that should be banned.

  36. avatar

    @ catherine benning

    Certainly, Catherine, you are totally right.
    But my observation is that this repressive US thought policy started infiltrating Continenetal Europe not before the establishment of the EU in the Nineties.
    I must admit, that I was enthusiastic about the EU at the beginning, until I noticed that it is simply another mode of Americanizing Europe, destroying our free identities with almost all of its policies, to replace it by a US type of commercialized mass individual.
    What is so infamous with political correct repression (introducing terms like “hate speech” etc.) is, that at first glance it might even appear reasonable, just a way to encourage people to have good manners and the like, but closer look will reveal that its real purpose is to create the type of obidient personality you have described, people begin hesitating to speak out freely, withdraw from politics like in our repressive “Biedermeier” almost 200 years ago.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Which, Bastian, is why Europe must, as quickly as it can muster, eliminate the US influence. We in the UK have been enveloped by the US as a result of them buying up all out government contracts. They have now taken over the running of just about every security service, Prisons, parts of the police services, including security at the Houses of Parliament. G4s had the contract for the Olympics but it was such a disaster we had to call in the Army. Schools have been contracted out to US sources, hospitals, important parts of the NHS. We are adopting American policy on most all our legislation. It is terrifying. As a person who knows where this is leading, from experience, I can honestly say, we have been swamped with them. Even in light of the US asylum seekers to the UK last year of 68 people. And still our government don’t get the message.

      And the reason our officials don’t get the message is, they have shares in the companies that are taking over these projects. Akin to Blair, they have sold us out. Worse than that, the threats begin in no uncertain terms if sticks are ever put up against the projected policy directed at us.


      And the implications of this are so horrifying the read of it will tell only a small part of the reality.


      And now we see the UK is ready to threaten an EU country. Why would that be, anyone want to guess? They say its over gambling associations. Oh, pleeeease!


      After all of this, we now send warships, and whose idea was that?

    • avatar

      You should have seen it from the start. The socalled federalist movement was set up and funded by the American state department and CIA. The early federalists were in essence ‘fellow travellers’. In earlier years they might have been called quislings, betraying national democracy to the altar of corporate controlled government.

  37. avatar

    I believe that the freedom of speech is a right, a human right, a fundamental right and a right which has vital importance for the democracy but free speech in the form of hate speech is absolutely a crime. I think it would not be an exaggeration to characterize this crime as the biggest crime in the twenty first century. The right to freedom of speech must be consistent with the other human rights like the right to security, to family life, to personal life and in life in general! Any oral, written or other form of hate speech must be prohibited because being ardent supporter of free speech surely will lead to hate speech, and hate speech will lead in discrimination and hate crimes and these are against the right to equality, to the right to freedom in religion but mostly is against the right of life. By eliminating the freedom of speech you will not abolish it but you will guarantee that the other human rights will not being infringed. That is my opinion.

  38. avatar
    catherine benning

    You cannot have your cake and eat it, which is what you are asking for, Kalia. How can you have both, freedom to speak but only when it says what you think is acceptable? And who is to be the arbiter of what is goog speech and bad speech? Are you to decide what is acceptable or ‘hateful’? That is a very immature attitude to take.

    ‘If Freedom of Speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.’

    George Washington

  39. avatar

    I think the idea of Free Speech somewhat makes banning hate speech problematic. I think that one has to be open to all opinions to progress, even ones you may find distasteful. The only action should be against those who repress free speech. Though hate speech is distasteful I realise historically there may be many ideas that were once distasteful but are now held as absolutes (like the earth going round the sun). This being said, though I believe in free speech, I’m all for prosecuting those who take a step further and act in an illegal manner based on hate speech. To do otherwise leads to a sort of minority report scenario.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      I find it extraordinary that those who agree with banning ‘hate’ speech appear unable to give an example of ‘hate’ speech. Or, express what this proposed banning will do for them. ~They appear unable to put into a coherent format what it is they want to ban and how far that ban will go and who will be deciding on what is to be banned. Whilst of course we all remain able to speak freely as the banning goes on.

      Incoherent and dangerous is what I would call it. Only despots want to ban the freedom of expression as the North Koreans face. Go there and see what it does to a people. It reduces them to apathetic, repressed and inadequate robots unable to experience humanity. Living a life of regulated indoctrination. And starving for it, whilst their leader grows fatter by the day.

      Is that what you see as our future in Europe?

    • avatar

      Think you’ll find I don’t believe in banning hate speech. I believe what one thinks or says, regardless of whether right or wrong is something the should be kept free. I draw a line however between acting and thinking. To believe one thing is fine, to act on a belief that is taking away the freedom of another should be fought against.

  40. avatar
    Georges DeLannoy de France

    Je pense que l’Union Europenne est un rgime fasciste qui n’aurait pas dplu au farouche partisan de la Grande Europe qu’tait Adolph Hitler. Si ce dernier n’avait pas t financ par les complexes amricano-germaniques, il serait rest un brailleur de fond de taverne munichoise et on aurait jamais entendu parler de lui. Enfin les archives dclassifies et les tudes d’historiens srieux ont prouv que le communisme russe s’est lui aussi install grce la finance amricaine. Alors vos leons, allez les donner ailleurs P.S. En Europe, l’anglais n’est pas la langue majoritaire.

  41. avatar

    No it mustn’t be banned. Freedom of speech should be allowed. The should rather create a better frameset for education. If people are educated they are less prone to follow such agitators.

  42. avatar

    Haters gonna hate.
    Instead of banning hate speech, I’d prefer even more programms like Youth For Europe etc. which makes people travel and enlarge their personal horizons and discover the worth of our common values. People use to come back from travelling with their minds more open – and open minded people don’t use hate speech (I hope).

  43. avatar

    I keep hearing hate speech from Brussels. They oppose sovereignty, referendums, dissenters, national democracy and what not.

    And woe onto you if you dare disagree with the EU/ECB/IMF and their programme for increasing unemployment, impoverishing the lower middle class and the poor and enriching the rich (the name of the programme is ‘the Euro currency’).

    Disband the criminal enterprise now and put Barroso on trial for hate speech against democracy and conspiracy to undermine democracy. I believe a Nuremberg style tribunal would be appropriate.

  44. avatar

    Interesting debate, by the way. If hate speech would be banned completely, they’d need to ban books like torah, bible and quran. Never in the history of the planet have three books contained more hate speech and ‘inspired’ people to do the most ghastly things against others.

    Religion, without doubt, is the leading cause of unnatural death in the last 1,500 years, no contest.

    • avatar

      + 1 Best comment !

  45. avatar

    Free speech must include freedom to say things that other people do not like. Provided there is no overt and intentional incitement to violence then people should be able to say what they wish, and of course others should be free to retaliate.

  46. avatar

    Should we start banning books we don’t like too? Banning anything is undemocratic and it has no place in a free society. You are not a free human being if you cannot say what you think. Furthermore, you run the risk of only promoting one point of view.

    I thought that Europe valued diversity. Diversity also includes freedom of viewpoint i.e. not only some people can say what they think freely, but all people can say what they think.

  47. avatar

    Why is this Man in the European Parliament? Who the Hell voted for him? Freedom of Speech is a fundamental Right and nothing you can ban just because its against something else. Someone who trys to fight Intolerance with intolerance just shows that he didnt get the point of Tolerance yet. no speech should be banned.

  48. avatar
    June Zerbino

    No disrespect to any religion, but when in a country that will not let allow anyone wear a hooded top in a shop etc,. why should a person wear a face covering. We do not know if it is a man or women who wants to commit a crime. I am for each living his or her own life, but we are a Cristian country and am appalled that our children cannot have a nativity play because it may offend. If in a Muslim country I would respect their laws. Let’s get real and get back to the 21st century.

  49. avatar

    Consider this..


    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep
    repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be
    maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from
    the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus
    becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to
    repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus
    by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

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