IN EUROPE A PERSON SHOULD BE HELD CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR HATEFUL COMMENTS…

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Marton Harmati 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #801

    Carla Martínez
    Participant

    AFFIRMATIVE TEAM – Speaker 1
    Good morning and welcome to the second edition of the online debate. Today’s subject is going to be about the resolution “In Europe a person should be held criminally responsible for hateful comments about any religion”. We, as the affirmative team, consider necessary to define the term “hate speech” so that we all know what are we talking about. We’ll use the European Legislation to find a common definition; according to the 1510 resolution of European Council about the free speech and religious beliefs from 2006, “anti religious hate speech is defined as every single manifestation that asks a person or community to be discriminated, victim of hate and violence because of their religion”.
    Following, as the initial speaker of the affirmative team, I’m about to display the structure of our position. I’m going to base my arguments around the limits of the free speech and in second place our next speaker is going to present the necessity of adjust the coexistence and tolerance in our multicultural society. As a conclusion, our third speaker is going to end up with a summary of our theory.
    Since the thesis limit us to Europe we should take into account that the biggest part of the population is ruled by democracy which is based on the right of free speech as a fundamental right (article 19 from the Human Rights declaration), despite all, we think it needs limits. The International Pact of Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations shows that these limits must be determined by law; “any advocacy of national racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law” (Art. 20.2)
    That’s why we believe the governments’ responsability is to protect each single citizen from different religions in front of hate speech.
    Looking forward to your question.
    306 words

    #802

    Marton Harmati
    Participant

    Thank you very much for your speech.
    Right after you gave the resolution, you defined the concept of hate speech.
    Why do you think all hateful comments are considered hate speech?
    Looking forward to your answer.

    #803

    Carla Martínez
    Participant

    Thank you for your question.
    A hateful comment has as an objective the incitement of hate, violence or discrimination towards a person or a group of people, so it would be included in the first definition of hate speech that we previously mentioned because both are transmitted through language. Hate only leads to hate and it´s followed by violence, so the least evidence must be legally punished to avoid a violation of the human rights.
    Words 75

    #804

    Zoltan Forgach
    Participant

    Good morning, and thank you very much for your answer. We, as the negative team, think that, in Europe, a person should not be held criminally responsible for hateful comments about any religion. Speaker A1, after presenting the resolution, decided to define hate speech. To our question, the affirmative team claimed that “A hateful comment has as an objective the incitement of hate, towards a person or a group of people, so it would be included in the first definition of hate speech”. However, the resolution is not about hate speech, as it is already regulated in European legislation as you also pointed out, so it is worthless to dispute about it.
    Our definition of a hateful comment is that it is an expression of a personal opinion, which does not incite violence, hostility, discrimination, which becomes hateful when anyone gets offended by it. Therefore, the difference between hate speech and a hateful comment is that the latter does not imply an attack on a person or a community, only questions and criticizes religious beliefs.
    The affirmative team is saying that “free speech is a fundamental right, but it needs limits.” However, in the EC Resolution 1510 that you are also using, point 12 states that “freedom of expression as protected under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights should not be further restricted to meet increasing sensitivities of certain religious groups.”
    Our main argument is that, in order to establish tolerance and peaceful coexistence in multicultural societies (which you also consider necessary), the right of free speech and expression should not be limited more than it already is, because a dialogue is necessary between different religious communities so that they can learn to accept each other.
    289 words

    #805

    Aitana Argibay
    Participant

    Thank you so much for your contribution. I’m the third speaker of the affirmative team, and I have a question for you; Do people have the right of offending someone on purpose? Is this a right or a poor interpretation of freedom? Looking forward to your answer.

    #806

    Zoltan Forgach
    Participant

    thank you for your question
    We, as the opposing team think that everyone has the right of free speech, to express their opinion and criticize others. If this criticism offends anyone, it is not the speaker’s fault. After all, we are entitled to ignore the offensive comments, in other words, it is not nessesary to get offended by them. If freedom of speech only means that we have to speak nicely to and of everyone, no conflicts will ever be solved.
    words 81

    #807

    Miguel Valle
    Participant

    AFFIRMATIVE TEAM – Speaker 2

    Good morning and thank you for your answer:
    Precisely, as you said, to establish the coexistence of religions in a multicultural society, is necessary to set limits for protecting religious beliefs and guarantee the convivence between cultures and social peace. If there´s no limit, some of these religions could feel insulted or offended by the others´ comments or actions. That´s because not everybody will be able to learn to accept the others´ religions if there are no rules.
    In adition to this, as you said, religious groups must tolerate the public criticism of their activities or beliefs as long as it doesn´t disturb the public order or promotes violence or discrimination.
    In our society people give up part of their individual rights in order to keep collective safety. Therefore, concepts as respect and coexistence are the keys to keep the peace in our multicultural community. This has already been defended through the concept of social pact by Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau. Even though Europe is ruled by democracy and a lay society, that does not give it the right to be disrespectful and offensive to the ones who believe in a religion because it would turn out to be discriminatory towards a part of the population that is actually a minority. However, if you don’t share a religion you don’t need to be disrespectful with the one who does. Lastly, you said that no conflicts will ever be solved if you only speak nicely to each other but as we said before violence is generated by disrespectful arguments.
    Thank you for your attention.
    Words: 263

    #808

    Zoltan Forgach
    Participant

    Thank you. As the first speaker of the Negative team, I would like to ask you to elaborate on how the concept of social pact or contract relates to religious tolerance.

    #809

    Miguel Valle
    Participant

    Thank you for your question: When we talk about social pact, we mean that for making coexistence possible and in order to keep collective safety, we give up some of our individual rights. This pact also implies cooperation and respect between everyone so that it can work properly, that´s where religious tolerance actuates as a tool for promoting social harmony and well-being.
    Words: 62

    #810

    Sara Toth
    Participant

    NEGATIVE TEAM- Speaker 2
    Thanks for your answer. As the Negative team, we insist that in Europe a person should not be held criminally responsible for hateful comments about any religion, because, unlike hate speech, the hateful comment does not necessarily incite violence and discrimination.
    So you say that without limit “some religions could feel offended by the other’s comment or actions”. But it means that you cannot say anything about another person’s religion because you never know when they get insulted.
    We think that violence and discrimination are not promoted by any comment, but the fact that a person or community gets offended.
    The theory of the social contract you have mentioned addresses the authority of the state over the individual, and is not relevant in this issue, also because Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau did not live in a multicultural and multi-religious society.
    If we hold somebody criminally responsible for a hateful comment about religion, and we put them in jail for example, they will not necessarily change their mind. Moreover, they might blame the targeted religion for that punishment.
    In addition, criminal responsibility would be based on the sensitivity of a religious person or group. Therefore, the state could abuse this punishment. Some countries have blasphemy laws, which limit the freedom of speech and many people are in prison or sentenced to death. One extreme case is Pakistan, where over 1300 people were accused of blasphemy from 1987 to 2014, mostly non-Muslim religious minorities (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-12621225). Amnesty International lists several such cases on its website, like that of Asia Bibi (https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2014/10/pakistan-upholding-blasphemy-death-sentence-against-christian-woman-grave-injustice/).
    Of course we know that some hateful comments are deliberately shocking and insulting, but we hold the view that these attitudes can only be changed by teaching tolerance and acceptance from an early age, and not by criminalization.
    Thank you.

    Words: 302

    #811

    Carla Martínez
    Participant

    Thank you very much for your argumentation.
    As the first speaker of the affirmative team I would like to ask you a question. How can you teach someone since he is young to tolerate other´s people religions if you don´t do anything against the ones who uses hateful comments antireligious?

    #812

    Sara Toth
    Participant

    Thank you for the question. The aim of this education would be to share as much information as possible about the different religions so that young people can compare the ideas, understand other points of view, start thinking critically and form their own opinions. This way, they will be prepared to question the reason behind the hateful comments coming from their environment.

    Words: 62

    #813

    Aitana Argibay
    Participant

    Hello, I’m the third speaker of the affirmative team. First we would like to remind that the topic restricts us to Europe, which does not include other countries, as Pakistan, with different political and legislative systems. Otherwise, returning to your argumentation, teaching tolerance in school is of course important, but you can’t control what kids learn on their homes or free time, even though you can’t change someone’s mind by sending him to jail, you can avoid the transmission of that ideal. On the other hand, multi-religious societies have been existing for thousands of years and have provoked many religious conflicts in Europe, so we don’t consider valid your argument that Rousseau or Hobbes didn’t live in a multi religious society.
    We insist on the fact that hateful comments do promote violence and hate, since you didn’t give us a reasonable definition against that. However, as a conclusion we just want to remind you that free speech must have a limit so that no one feels offended or attacked. Freedom comes along with responsibility. As a conclusion, we want to quote Martin Luther King, one of the biggest coexistence and tolerance defenders “hate is the cancer in the political body that must be eliminated before our democracy health gets hurt”.
    Thank you for your attention.
    Words: 215

    #814

    Marton Harmati
    Participant

    NEGATIVE TEAM-Speaker 3
    The opposing team claims that respect is the key to a peaceful coexistence of different religions. However, we have been saying that not all the religious people or communities are sensitive or vulnerable in the same way. So the meaning of respect is also relative.
    We still state that the resolution is not about hate speech, as it is already regulated in European democracies. However, if somebody is sentenced for a hateful comment, which offends another person, their opinion is oppressed and this generates even bigger tension.
    We are aware that the resolution is about Europe, and Pakistan was an example to demonstrate that criminalization is not a solution. Yet, we need to educate youngsters to tolerate, accept and understand other religious communities. As the American deaf-blind author and politician, Helen Keller said: “The highest result of education is tolerance”. We think this is the way to a peaceful coexistence without taboos, which hinder interreligious communication.
    People are humans because they have their unique opinion. The freedom to express different judgements leads to conflicts and, by making you think critically, to development. Do we really want to limit the kind of freedom that has made the evolution of a civilized society possible?
    Thank you very much for this constructive debate.
    Words: 213

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