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Regulation of online hate speech - 13th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues
20 Nov 2020 -  Item 4: Regulation of online hate speech: the role and responsibility of intergovernmental organizations, States, internet companies and social media platforms

Some progress has been made by States and by Internet companies and social media platforms in addressing hate speech on social media, although more is needed in light of the scale and specific targeting, and therefore vulnerability, of minorities. Addressing hate speech implies keeping the scourge of hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence against minorities.

Participants will convey examples of best practices by States to address online hate speech against minorities through both prevention and redress strategies, and to balance it with their obligation to protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

The role of States, Internet companies and social media platforms is also important in the current circumstances of hate speech on social media against minorities in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, as pointed out by the Special Rapporteur on minority issues in a press release in March 2020. A United Nations guidance note on addressing and countering COVID-19-related hate speech, issued on 11 May 2020, included recommendations that social media and tech companies should ensure that their hate speech policies involved an evaluation of the social and political context, the status and intent of the speaker, the content and extent of dissemination and the likelihood of harm to users and the public, reflecting the six-part threshold test contained in the Rabat Plan of Action.

Participants will discuss the role played by intergovernmental organizations, States, Internet companies and social media platforms, and will also discuss the responsibilities of those actors in addressing online hate speech and ensuring that their business operations are in full conformity with international human rights norms and standards, including the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework. Participants will also bring examples of effective solutions put in place by Internet companies and social media platforms.

• Mr. Sajjad Hassan, Convenor, The South Asia Collective
• Mr. Gerald Tapuka, Senior Correspondent and Deputy Director for Africa at The Organisation for World Peace
• Ms. Sejal Parmar, Lecturer at School of Law at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Interactive Dialogue

Item 3 (cont'd) : International legal and institutional framework
Iran (Islamic Republic of) Right of Reply