Council of Europe & Hate Speech: Public consultation on the Committee of Ministers' Recommendation

posted on 08 July, 2021   (public)

Non-binding, comprehensive guidance built on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights case-law

The new Council of Europe Committee of Ministers' Recommendation on Combating Hate Speech is open to public consultation from 23 June to 8 August 2021.

The Recommendation aims at providing non-binding guidance for member States and key stakeholders based on a comprehensive approach within a Human Rights framework. The Committee of Experts on Combating Hate Speech (ADI/MSI-DIS) who prepared this draft, builds on the European Court of Human Rights case-law and pays "special attention to the online environment in which much of today's hate speech can be found".

The draft Recommendation in a nutshell:
The draft Recommendation defines broadly the notion of 'hate speech' and intends to include all kinds of hate speech. However, the Committee of Ministers calls for a distinction between three categories of speech which would require different responses in terms of severity, applicable liability and measures. Therefore, the draft report identifies the three following categories:
  • Illegal speech subject to criminal liability;
  • Illegal speech subject to civil or administrative liability;
  • Non illegal speech that "causes prejudices and hate and raises concerns in terms of tolerance, civility, inclusion and respect for the rights of others".
In the appendix, the document outlines the different responses for each category and specific measures for key stakeholders such as Internet intermediaries, public officials, political bodies, media and civil society organisations.
Furthermore, the draft Recommendation dedicates, among others, special chapters on alternative responses to hate speech such as media literacy and counter-speech, and national and international cooperation.  


The public consultation is open until 8 August

Source: the Council of Europe