Hate speech is a broad and contested term. Hate speech means when a person or a group is attacked or threatened based on factors such as gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or disability.
The feature of anonymity new means of the rapid growing of hate speech online that may be considered to magnify the dangers of irresponsible speech (2009,p.82). Nowadays, the Internet permits users to publish anonymous information. This to the large extent has made harassment and expressio
ns of hate easy, millions of potential readers to read harmful articles online will magnify any harm caused by hate speech, thus making it far easier to spread, create or produce illegal, dangerous material such as pornography, sexual violence.
The typical example of British feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez received hundreds of anonymous messages about death, rape and horrific abuse after successful campaign to put Jane Austen on UK banknotes on Twitter (2013). And then Caroline Criado-Perez
decided to delete her Twitter account after receiving tweets threatening to rape and kill her. After this happened, the British head of Twitter has issued a series of tweets to public apology to women attacked by abuse. This example would change the balance between hate speech and free speech on international social media websites.
As Warbuton (2009, p.6) argues “Censorship is often described metaphorically as a removal of an individual or group’s voice.” Censoring disturbing or even offensive speech, especially in arts or literatures, it will violate the intentions or spirit of the writer and speaker. For example, the British government wanted to dilute the message from the representative of Sinn Fein in 1988, hence all the programme featured extensive footage of Sinn Fein’s were banned from broadcasting by the British government’s direct intervention (2016).
To sum up, everyone has a right to freedom of opinions and expressions, but these free speeches need to be based on respect for others.
- Warburton, N. (2009) Chapter 5: Free Speech in the age of the internet. In Free Speech: a very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 81-95.
- ,(2016) Sinn Fein’s Secret 1988 Report On Noraid [online]. The Broken Elbow[March 30, 2016]Available from: https://thebrokenelbow.com/2016/03/30/sinn-feins-secret-1988-report-on-noraid/
- , (2013), When Hate Speech Crosses the Line: The Case of Caroline Criado-Perez[online]. BUSTLE[July 29, 2013] Available from: https://www.bustle.com/articles/2710-when-hate-speech-crosses-the-line-the-case-of-caroline-criado-perez
4., (2015), The hate speech debate. Sweden. p.11-13