Archive item

Title: Recommendation no. R (97) 20 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on "hate speech"
Other/original title:
Publisher: Council of Europe
Files: www.coe.int_t_dghl_standardsetting_media_doc_cm_rec(1997)020&expmem_en.pdf
Abstract: This recommendation, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 30 October 1997 at the 607th meeting of the Minister's Deputies, recommends that the governments of member states take steps to combat hate speech, and lays down the principles that should be applied. It also recommends member states to review their domestic legislation and practice in order to ensure that they comply with said principles. Principle 2, for example, sets out how the governments "should establish or maintain a sound legal framework consisting of civil, criminal and administrative law provisions on hate speech which enable administrative and judicial authorities to reconcile [..] respect for freedom of expression with respect for human dignity and the protection of the reputation or the rights of others", and specifically calls on governments to "review the existing legal framework in order to ensure that it applies in an adequate manner to the various new media and communications services and networks". Principle 4 states that "national law and practice should allow the courts to bear in mind that specific instances of hate speech may be so insulting to individuals or groups as not to enjoy the level of protection afforded by Article 10 [ECHR]". But principles 6 and 7 warn states to clearly distinguish between instances of hate speech themselves and the role of the media in reporting on and analysing instances of hate speech: "reporting on racism, xenophobia, antisemitism or other forms of intolerance is fully protected by Article 10". The recommendation is accompanied by an explanatory memorandum.
Publication/ adoption date: 1997-10-30
Language: English