Europeans Outlaw Net Hate Speech
The Council of Europe has adopted a measure that would criminalize Internet hate speech, including hyperlinks to pages that contain offensive content.
The provision, which was passed by the council's decision-making body (the Committee of Ministers), updates the European Convention on Cybercrime.
Specifically, the amendment bans "any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as pretext for any of these factors."
It also obliquely refers to the Holocaust, outlawing sites that deny, minimize, approve or justify crimes against humanity, particularly those that occurred during World War II.
"The emergence of international communication networks like the Internet provide certain persons with modern and powerful means to support racism and xenophobia and enables them to disseminate easily and widely expressions containing such ideas," the council's report on the amendment states. "In order to investigate and prosecute such persons, international cooperation is vital."