Outlawing Hate Speech in Democratic States — The Case against the Inherent Limitations Doctrine concerning Article 10 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights

Stefan Kirchner

Resumo


Abstract: When compared to the domestic legal systems of states parties to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the material scope of the freedom of expression under Article 10 ECHR is relatively far-reaching. This wide scope provides also a risk of abuse. At the same time is the ECHR based on the concept of a democratic society. In a democratic society, which is based on the rule of the majority, minorities are in particular need of protection. This includes a need to outlaw uses of the freedom of expression which target minorities in a way which is not based on the exercise of human rights but on hatred. In this article it is shown that such hate speech can be outlawed under the standard model of limitations offered by the European Convention on Human Rights or by the abuse of rights clause of Article 17 ECHR. It is not necessary to rely on inherent limitations of the material scope of the freedom of expression in order to effectively protect all members of a democratic society against hate speech.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5102/rdi.v12i1.3528

ISSN 2236-997X (impresso) - ISSN 2237-1036 (on-line)

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