ADF International


Code of Conduct on Illegal ‘Hate Speech’ Online (European Commission)

Date of most recent action: 13 Nov 2017

Code could lead to online censorship

What’s at Stake:

Promotion of free speech and marketplace of ideas


On 31 May 2016, the European Commission, in conjunction with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube, unveiled the Code of Conduct on illegal ‘hate speech’ online. The tech companies committed to combating illegal ‘hate speech’ online, but there is uncertainty regarding what ‘hate speech’ is.

Further, there are no guarantees or effective remedies for those whose speech would be restricted on unsubstantiated grounds. In essence, without impartial oversight, the Code of Conduct could prove to be a censorship tool.

As ADF International legal counsel Adina Portaru has stated,
Limits on speech should remain an exception that is grounded in the law, narrowly construed, well-defined, proportionate, legitimate, pursuing a clear aim, and must ensure that less restrictive means do not exist. In other words, limitations should be mindful of safeguarding the free exchange of ideas and opinions.

Our Role in the Case:

ADF International is working to ensure that a culture of free speech and a robust marketplace of ideas are firmly established in Europe by highlighting the dangers of the Code of Conduct and such ‘hate speech’ laws.

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Faith-based legal advocacy organization that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people.