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Legal Concept of Hate Speech and Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights

Vesna Alaburić ; Lawyer and Political Scientist

Full text: english pdf 310 Kb

page 230-252

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This article problematizes the legal concept of so-called hate speech in order to contribute to current debates on this complex and omnipresent social phenomenon. Firstly, it refers to the provisions of various international human rights instruments relevant in the context of combating hate speech, providing general legal framework for the proper assessment of this issue. Then it discusses the legal concept of hate speech and certain controversies and difficulties involved. In particular, it points to the specific distinction that must be established and preserved between hate speech and other forms of hateful speech. Finally, the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights concerning hate speech is analyzed by providing relevant examples from its case-law. In this connection, certain serious deficiencies in the ECtHR hate speech jurisprudence are indicated and briefly explained.


Hate Speech; Hateful Speech; Discrimination; Vulnerable Groups; International Human Rights Instruments; European Convention on Human Rights; ECtHR

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