AuthorPetra Bárd - Judit Bayer
Hate speech and hate crime in the EU and the evaluation of online content regulation approaches
PE 655.135 117
The European Union as a community based on values of respect for human dignity, freedom,
democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons
belonging to minorities (Article 2 TEU) needs to speak against hate speech and also to act against
hate speech and hate crime.
The fight against bias motivated acts can be grouped respectively in two categories: counter-speech
and counteraction. Both take note of the fact that hate speech and hate crime are social phenomena
and that legal regulation and law enforcement touches only the tip of the iceberg.
For long-term and solid improvement, the underlying factors need to be adjusted, which are:
- social insecurity, inequality and poverty423
- various fears in our risk-based society
- unequal education
- weakness of the law enforcement system
- populistic political communication.
5.1. Speak against: taking counter-speech seriously
It is the constitutional duty of the state to protect equally all persons within its jurisdiction. Failure to
provide protection against discrimination, racism, and hate speech is also a demonstrative behaviour,
which – by omission rather than by action – generates a social norm.
When a state does not claim its authority to oppose racism and intolerance with all its means, then
it gives a licence to other actors to engage in racist and intolerant actions.
It should be noted that prejudice is likely to stay with humanity in the long-term. What needs to be
prevented that they turn into policy, or that they actively disrupt the rule of law, through institutional
Real fears and concerns make people susceptible to populistic, discriminative or even racist views.
Further research should be supported to process and decode the 'hate narrative' and identify its core
content and define what is the real concern behind hate. Those real problems need to be addressed
by substantial economic and social policy changes. Nevertheless, substantial policy measurements
cannot always bring a quick solution in times like a pandemic, climate change, or a migration crisis.
Therefore, the role of narratives should not be underestimated.
The following measurements aim at building social resilience against discriminative ideas, some are
soft measures but some require hard laws.
Recent research supports that relative deprivation makes recipients more susceptible to the mobilising impact of the populist identity
frames. See: Bos, L., Schemer, C. Corbu, N., Hameleers, M., Andreadis, I., Schulz, A., Schmuck, D., Reinemann, C., Fawzi, N., ‘The effects of
populism as a social identity frame on persuasion and mobilisation: Evidence from a 15-country experiment’, European Journal of Political
Research 59: 3–24, 2020 3. Available at

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