Hate Propaganda and International Human Rights Law

FORGING PEACE: INTERVENTION, HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MANAGEMENT OF MEDIA SPACE, Monroe E. Price and Mark Thompson, eds. (Univ. of Edinburgh Press, 2002)

35 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2016 Last revised: 15 Jun 2016

See all articles by Stephanie Farrior

Stephanie Farrior

Hunter College, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute

Date Written: June 8, 2016

Abstract

Hate propaganda can create conditions that foment widespread, sometimes genocidal violence. Those conditions can become so firmly entrenched and reinforced by propaganda that the propagandist speech cannot be offset simply by “more speech” or by speech advocating tolerance.

Where such deeply etched speech-inspired hatred exists, the result can be the loss of thousands or millions of lives. This is the lesson that the drafters of international and regional human rights treaties drew from the Nazi regime, which led the prohibition of hate speech to be incorporated into treaties protecting human rights.

Do these treaty provisions then provide legal space for international bodies to take multilateral action, or for a state to take unilateral extraterritorial action, to limit the media within another state's boundaries?

This paper argues that, under international human rights law, unilateral or multilateral intervention against media engaged in inciting racial or ethnic hatred can constitute a permissible limitation on free expression and on the right to receive and impart information and ideas. In this essay, I explore the development of international human rights principles on speech and hate propaganda that govern individual states and that might, by extension, relate to the actions of the United Nations, NATO, or a state acting out of humanitarian concern to prevent violence and racial or ethnic conflict in neighboring or other states.

Keywords: Hate Speech, Free Speech, Media Regulation, Freedom of Expression, Hate Propaganda, Genocide, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Covenant, European Court of Human Rights

JEL Classification: K33, N40

Suggested Citation

Farrior, Stephanie, Hate Propaganda and International Human Rights Law (June 8, 2016). FORGING PEACE: INTERVENTION, HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MANAGEMENT OF MEDIA SPACE, Monroe E. Price and Mark Thompson, eds. (Univ. of Edinburgh Press, 2002), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2792367

Stephanie Farrior (Contact Author)

Hunter College, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute ( email )

47-49 E 65th St
New York, NY 10065
United States

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