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Panel discussion in New York: should we criminalize hate speech?


  • Nadine Strossen, Brendan O’Neill, and Paul Coleman discussed free speech on 29 January
  • Calls for increased censorship gaining momentum in USA

NEW YORK (24 January 2019) – Should we be allowed to say what we want freely, even if some deem it “hateful”? Spiked US and the New York Law School chapter of the American Constitution Society hosted a panel discussion on hate speech and its impact on fundamental freedoms. Speakers included Nadine Strossen, Brendan O’Neill, and Paul Coleman.

“In many European countries, the state wants to shut down debate on ‘hot topics’ like immigration, marriage, sexuality, and the critique of other religions. Ministers, journalists, and even private individuals have faced criminal charges as a result. Nonetheless, speech laws are not only a growing concern in Europe. Even in the USA censorship on campuses, in churches, and in the political sphere is growing,” said Coleman, who has written widely on the subject and is the author of the book, Censored: How European “Hate Speech” Laws are Threatening Freedom of Speech.

Devastating impact of “hate speech” laws

Censored addresses the rise of “hate speech” laws in Europe and their devastating effect on freedom of speech. In Germany, for example, committing an “insult” can be a criminal offence while in Poland offending “religious feelings” carries a two-year prison sentence. Such examples, along with fifty different cases described in the book, show how “hate speech” laws are readily being used in Europe. In the USA, there are growing calls for similar “hate speech” laws.

Listen to a Spiked podcast with Paul Coleman on “hate speech” laws here.

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