Incitement to ethnic or racial hatred

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Incitement to racial or ethnic hatred is a crime under the laws of several countries.

United Kingdom[edit]

Under the law of the United Kingdom, "incitement to racial hatred" was established as an offence by the provisions of §§ 17-29 of the Public Order Act 1986. It was first established as a criminal offence in the Race Relations Act 1976. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 made publication of material that incited racial hatred an arrestable offence.

This offence refers to:

  • deliberately provoking hatred of a racial group
  • distributing racist material to the public
  • making inflammatory public speeches
  • creating racist websites on the Internet
  • inciting inflammatory rumours about an individual or an ethnic group, for the purpose of spreading racial discontent.

Laws against incitement to hatred against religions were later established under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. However this legislation is not present in Scotland.

Australia[edit]

In Australia, the Racial Hatred Act 1995 amends the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, inserting Part IIA - Offensive Behaviour Because of Race, Colour, National or Ethnic Origin. It does not, however, address the issue of incitement to racial hatred. The Australian state of Victoria has addressed the question, however, with its enactment of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001.

Finland[edit]

In Finland, agitation against an ethnic group (Finnish: Kiihottaminen kansanryhmää vastaan) is a crime according to the Finnish criminal law's (1995/578) chapter 11. §: 8.[1]

France[edit]

Section 24 of the Press Law of 1881 criminalizes incitement to racial discrimination, hatred, or violence on the basis of one's origin or membership in an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group.[2] A criminal code provision makes it an offense to engage in similar conduct via private communication.[3]

In 2002, four Muslim organizations filed a complaint against Michel Houellebecq for stating that Islam was "stupid" and "dangerous" in an interview. The court found that Houellebecq was not immune from the charge on the grounds of literary immunity or freedom of speech, but acquitted him on the grounds that he criticized Islam rather than individual Muslims.[4][5][6] In 2005, politician Jean Marie Le Pen was convicted of inciting racial hatred, for comments made to Le Monde in 2003 about the consequences of Muslim immigration in France.[7][8][9] Similar complaints were brought in 2015 after he compared Muslim street prayers to the Nazi occupation of France in 2010, but he was acquitted.[10] In 2008, actress and animal-rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot was convicted on charges of inciting racial hatred for her criticism concerning the ritual slaughter of sheep during the feast of Eid al-Adha in a letter to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Bardot had been convicted of inciting racial hatred on four other occasions over the previous 11 years for criticizing Muslim immigration.[11][12][13][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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