Journal of the Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research No. 1/2023


Aleksandar Stevanović

Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research, Belgrade

Received: December 16, 2022

Revision received: April 20, 2023

Accepted: May 17, 2023

UDK: 316.454.5:32

Pages: 63-80

DOI: 10.47152/ziksi2023014

The author considers the hate speech within the broader context ofright to freedom of expression with specific reference to political speech. The European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter: the ECHR) in its jurisprudence takes the stance that the protections for freedom of expression extend to content that might be offensive, shocking and disturbing to someone. It is also a well accepted in comparative case law and doctrine that political speech has a privileged position in terms of legal protection when it comes to the a greater degree of criticism. On the other hand, it is extremely important to protect individuals and collectives from exposure to hate speech, since it does not achieve the objectives of the right to freedom of expression in any way. However, it is clear at first glance that in a large number of cases there is an intertwining of hate speech with speech to which the law provides legal protection. Content related to racial, negationism, revisionism, religious, ethnic, etc. issues are a legitimate and integral part of political discourse, while a very small space separates them from slipping into the field of hate speech. Although the historical, cultural, sociological and psychological context is important for the qualification of certain content as hate speech, the author seeks to analyze the basics of the definition of hate speech through a comparative legal approach (UN, and other international and regional organizations) in order to offer a framework for distinguishing hate speech from other permitted content which would be applicable in general, appreciating all the possible variables that affect the qualification of hate speech.

KEY WORDS: Hate speech / Political speech / Freedom of expression

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