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Discursive Essay: Is the Current Law of Hate Speech Sufficient in the UK

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In the UK, is the current law of hate speech sufficient?Current Law of hate speech is sufficient because it intrudes with the freedom of speech. I will further discuss why the current hate speech laws doesn’t need amendments.Current law for hate speech in the UK is the Public Order Act 1986 in which section the section 18 Part 3 of the act states that:A person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, is guilty of an offence if—(a) he intends thereby to stir up racial hatred, or(b) having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby.Offences carry a maximum of 7 years of prison or a fine or both.Further the Criminal Justice and Public order Act amended POA 1986 by adding section 4 A which states that:(1) A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he—(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to both.

In 2012, a campaign was started by Christian Institute and National Secular society to remove the word ‘insulting’ from Section 5. According to the leader, they protested that do police and court really need to deal with the insults. There are many victims as well for this for example a 16year old protester held a placard that said that ‘Scientology is not a religion it is a dangerous cult’ this was reported and the Crown Prosecution Service said that this is ‘Abusive and Insulting’ later on the court decided to drop the charges. This relates to Hate speech directly because as mentioned POA 1986 Section 4A(B). It really shouldn’t be in hands of police and court to decide whether or not these words are insulting unless and until it provokes violation or threatens society. Another example to prove that these words should be removed is when an Oxonian was arrested under section 5 for saying to A policeman: ‘Excuse me. Do you realise your horse is gay?’ In Democratic society you should have all the rights to call the horse gay. This proves that the police or the court would decide if you or someone else might feel insulted or not. Finally on 1st February 2014 the Change was incorporated on to insult someone would be no longer illegal. Current Law of Hate Speech is sufficient because Hate Speech Prohibition is often Anathematised by the advocates for the right of Speech. In the USA, there is no specific law for hate speech because the government thinks that it intruded the first and foremost right of Freedom of Speech.

As comparing it to European countries, they do have a specific law for Hate Speech. I Strongly agree that there should be the hate speech law because not only does it promotes violations but also plays a huge role in increasing the Crime rate. If we were to Compare the Crime rate of African countries like Jamaica, it certainly does play a huge role. Those who don’t abide by the law are punished and imprisoned or fined or both.In 2017, a 19year old Chelsea Russell was arrested because she quoted the line ‘Kill a snitch Nigga, rob a rich Nigga’ on her Instagram page. She did so to pay tribute to a 13-year-old Franky Murphy who was killed in a car accident. Hate crime investigators charged Russell for ‘sending a grossly offensive message by means of a public electronic communication network. In 2018, District judge found Russell Guilty and imposed a fine of 385 pounds and curfew. In 2019, Russel’s Conviction was not heard. To prove herself, she argued that she used the N word just how she uses Mate and that everyone she knows doesn’t think N word as abusive or insulting. The UK has many laws on Hate Speech. It is a difficult term to understand because it included lot many terms and it is vague. If at all they need to make changes would be to improve it with the precision. Companies that include Hate Speech policies is Facebook and YouTube.

Several activists and scholars have criticised the practice of limiting hate speech. Civil liberties activist Nadin Strossen says that while efforts to save hate speech censor hate speech have the goal of protecting the most vulnerable they are ineffective and may have the opposite effect: disadvantaged and ethnic minorities being charged with violating laws against hate speech. Kim Holmes, Vice President of the conservative Heritage foundation and the critic of hate speech theory has argues that it ‘assumes bad faith on the part of people regardless of their state intentions.’ And that it ‘obliterates the ethical responsibility of the individual’. Rubecca Ruth Gould, a professor of Islamic and Comparative Literature at the University of Birmingham, argues that laws against hate speech constitute viewpoint discrimination as the legal system punishes some viewpoints but not others, however other scholars such as Gideon Elford argue instead that ‘in so far as hate speech regulation targets the consequences of speech that are contingently connected with the substance of what is expressed then it is viewpoint discriminatory is only an indirect sense.’ Hate speech develops not only separation but also bigotry. It also damages people who are discriminated. Just because a person is different and is out from “society’s standards”, this person must not be discriminated against, humiliated nor required to listen to hate speech from others just because the others can say anything they want. Therefore, people who practice hate speech should be punished by law. I strongly support that instead of constantly amending the laws of hate speech, the government should educate people and make them aware about the happenings of hate speech since it is directly related to the increasing of crime rates and abusive and threatening constantly.

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There has been much debate over the freedom of speech, hate speech and the hate speech legislation. As mentioned, a majority of developed democracies have hate speech laws. Countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, and several other countries follow these laws including the UK. On the other hand, the USA doesn’t have a specific law for hate speech. RS5 campaign director, Simon Calvert spoke to LBC Radio-‘Most people are amazed when you tell them the British law outlaws insults because we all recognize insults is such a vague and subjective term.’ I disagree with this statement because I think insult is not a big issue. There are various issues like murders, suicide to be considered and insult can be handled by oneself and if at all it leads to a physical fight, then the police should invade and help them out. Hate speech sometimes can have dreadful violence such as physical fights and actions. However, there is no real internationally agreed definition of hate speech. Often used definition is the one outlined in the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation 97(20): “the term “hate speech” shall be understood as covering all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin.

To the extreme, it is illegal to discuss about holocaust and Nazi ideologies. Apart from that, people have been prosecuted simply because the people were talking in online hate speech. I think that what we need is to implement these laws strongly and follow it strictly in a way that the right person land in prison or gets fined for violating the law.In conclusion, Current Law of hate speech is sufficient because it intrudes with the freedom of speech. According to the leader, they protested that do police and court really needed to deal with the insults. This proves that the police or the court would decide if you or someone else might feel insulted or not. Current Law of Hate Speech is sufficient because Hate Speech Prohibition is often Anathematised by the advocates for the right of Speech. In 2017, 19year old Chelsea Russell was arrested because she quoted the line ‘Kill a snitch Nigga, rob a rich Nigga’ on her Instagram page. She did so to pay tribute to 13-year-old Franky Murphy who was killed in a car accident. It is a difficult term to understand because it included lot many terms and it is vague. If at all they need to make changes would be to improve it with precision. I strongly support that instead of constantly amending the laws of hate speech, the government should educate people and make them aware about the happenings of hate speech since it is directly related to the increase of crime rates and abusive and threatening constantly. However, there is no real internationally agreed definition of hate speech.

To the extreme, it is illegal to discuss about holocaust and Nazi ideologies. Expressions of hatred toward someone on account of that person's colour, race, disability, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation is forbidden. Any communication which is threatening or abusive, and is intended to harass, alarm, or distress someone is forbidden. The penalties for hate speech include fines, imprisonment, or both. The Police and CPS have formulated a definition of hate crimes and hate incidents, with hate speech forming a subset of these. A hate incident becomes a hate crime if it crosses the boundary of criminality.

The Scottish government has held an independent review of hate crime laws which it intends to use as the basis for a wider consultation on new legislation. In England and Wales and Scotland, the Public Order Act 1986 prohibits, by its Part 3, expressions of racial hatred, which is defined as hatred against a group of persons by reason of the group's colour, race, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins. Section 18 of the Act says: The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 inserted Section 4A into the Public Order Act 1986. The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 amended the Public Order Act 1986 by adding Part 3A. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 amended Part 3A of the Public Order Act 1986. The campaign was backed by a number of high-profile activists including comedian Rowan Atkinson and former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis.

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Discursive Essay: Is the Current Law of Hate Speech Sufficient in the UK. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/discursive-essay-is-the-current-law-of-hate-speech-sufficient-in-the-uk/
“Discursive Essay: Is the Current Law of Hate Speech Sufficient in the UK.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/discursive-essay-is-the-current-law-of-hate-speech-sufficient-in-the-uk/
Discursive Essay: Is the Current Law of Hate Speech Sufficient in the UK. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/discursive-essay-is-the-current-law-of-hate-speech-sufficient-in-the-uk/> [Accessed 26 Feb. 2024].
Discursive Essay: Is the Current Law of Hate Speech Sufficient in the UK [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 27 [cited 2024 Feb 26]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/discursive-essay-is-the-current-law-of-hate-speech-sufficient-in-the-uk/
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