In a world of rising calls for limits on hate speech, international human rights law provides standards to govern State and company approaches to online expression. In the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression explains how those standards provide a framework for Governments considering regulatory options and companies determining how to respect human rights online. The Special Rapporteur begins with an introduction to the international legal framework, focusing on United Nations treaties and the leading interpretations of provisions related to what is colloquially called “hate speech”. He then highlights key State obligations and addresses how content moderation by companies may ensure respect for the human rights of users and the public. He concludes with recommendations for States and companies.
According to the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech: “the term hate speech is understood as any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor.
Source: OHCHR report