What is meant by Hate speech? How can it be curbed?
Hate speech is defined as an incitement to hatred directed principally towards a group of people based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, or other factors, according to the Law Commission of India’s 267th Report. The context of a communication plays a crucial role in determining whether it is a hate speech or not.
Reasons for Hate speech
- Individuals accept stereotypes imprinted in their thoughts, which drive them to assume that a class or group of people is inferior to them and hence cannot enjoy the same rights as them.
- Any historical animosity between distinct religious or socioeconomic groups might lead people to commit hate crimes. Both populations were separated throughout the battle for independence, which continues to have an influence. Take, for example, the divide-and-rule strategy.
- Vote bank politics: Vote bank politics employ a variety of communal or emotional methods to sway the votes of a small group of people by generating animosity. They provoke such occurrences by spreading fake information, news, and so forth.
- Hate crimes can be motivated by prejudice and hostility towards a particular group. In Delhi, for example, there have been 704 incidents of crimes against persons from the Northeast in the last three years.
- Patriarchy—This is especially true when it comes to hate crimes against women. Women are killed for their honour mostly due to a patriarchal worldview in which women are associated with one’s own honour and women are viewed as an item related to family respect.
- Lack of strong legislation—due to a lack of strong and clear rules, as well as inadequate implementation—the conviction rate is low. As a result, the criminals are free to wander.
- Fake news and propaganda are frequently used on social media against a certain group in order to destabilise a society. For instance, the rioting in Muzaffarnagar in 2013.
- Acceptance of hatred by society: In certain cases, society as a whole embraces hatred toward a specific group or nation as a result of previous atrocities. Many organisations, for example, regard refugees or migrants as their enemy, and islamophobia is rampant in European countries.
- Illiteracy—A lack of education limits an individual’s total growth. Even still, over 23% of India’s population is illiterate. This obstructs their ability to develop tolerance and a knowledge of individuality.
- Hate speech is fueled by people who are adamant about sticking to a specific ideology while disregarding the right to peaceful coexistence.
Various provisions present
- Sections 153A and 153B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) punish activities that promote animosity and hostility between two communities.
- Acts that deliberately or maliciously insult the religious sensibilities of a group of people are punishable under Section 295A of the IPC.
- Sections 505(1) and 505(2) make it illegal to publish or circulate anything that may incite animosity or hostility amongst various communities.
- Section 8 of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951 (RPA) prohibits a person convicted of illegally exercising their right to freedom of expression from contesting an election.
- Sections 123(3A) and 125 of the RPA prohibit the promotion of hatred based on race, religion, community, caste, or language in connection with elections and classify it as a kind of corrupt electoral conduct.
- The Viswanathan Committee suggested amending the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to include Sections 153 C (b) and 505 A for inciting to commit an offence on the basis of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, place of birth, domicile, language, handicap, or tribe. It advocated a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine of Rs. 5,000.
- The Bezbaruah Committee proposed amending Section 153 C of the Indian Penal Code (promoting or attempting to promote acts prejudicial to human dignity), which is punishable by five years in prison and a fine, or both, and Section 509 A of the Indian Penal Code (using words, gestures, or acts to insult members of a particular race), which is punishable by three years in prison and a fine, or both.
- Subjects like hate speech become a tough matter to deal with in a country like India, where there is a large population of people from many origins and cultures, and it is difficult to distinguish between free and hate speech.
- When restricting talks, several issues must be addressed, including the quantity of strong viewpoints, offensiveness to specific populations, and the impact on the ideals of dignity, liberty, and equality. There are laws against such crimes, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
- Under the context of a “digital single market,” the European Union has also developed a code of conduct to ensure that hate speech does not spread. It necessitates a collaborative, autonomous, and inclusive regulatory framework that is tailored to regional and cultural needs while following to global best practises in content moderation and privacy protection.
- New provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are needed to address the issue of hate speech, according to the Law Commission of India.
- Giving a correct definition to hate speech would be the first step in dealing with the problem, and other activities, such as public awareness campaigns, are also necessary.
How to structure:
1) Give an intro about Hate speech and what it means- try to link how its different
from the Fundamental Rights here
2) Mention the issues associated
3) Mention the related policies to it and suggest further measures
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