How should the law define dangerous speech?

A trio of human rights experts elaborate on the definition of dangerous speech and consider how hate speech is protected both in Europe and under the first amendment in the US.

In this interview, Susan Benesch, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, outlines five criteria that taken together can result in speech that is dangerous: the speaker, the audience, the context of the speech, the historical and social context, and the mode of dissemination. (To listen to Benesch elaborate on her research on dangerous speech, click here.) Agnes Callamard, executive director of Article 19, looks to Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for a broader definition of hate speech, under which, she argues, dangerous speech is a sub-category. Callamard adds that she would not necessarily recommend a legal response to all hate speech, but for example, encourage the development of a diverse media landscape instead. Along with Nazila Ghanea, a lecturer in international human rights law at the University of Oxford, they examine the pros and cons of the first amendment in the US versus hate speech legislation in Europe.

(Main image: photo by David McNew/Getty Images.)

Read more:

Leave a comment in any language


Swipe left to browse all of the highlights.

Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford.

The University of Oxford