Hate speech and intolerance are on the rise in Europe, with
increasing use of expressions that spread, incite, promote or justify
racial hatred, xenophobia, antisemitism or other forms of hatred.
Hate speech has become part of political discourse, not only
among populist and extremist groups but also across the political
spectrum and information technology contributes to spreading and
amplifying it. Hate speech dehumanises the individuals and groups
it targets and makes them more vulnerable to discrimination; it
erodes the social fabric and hinders peaceful living together in
The most effective way of preventing hate speech and intolerance
is to strengthen the principles of democracy, human rights and the
rule of law, and to promote a model of society that embraces diversity
and respects human dignity.
Politicians have a vital role to play in combating hate speech
and intolerance and bear a moral responsibility to do so. Countermeasures
include self-regulation, particularly by political movements and
parties, and civil, administrative and criminal legislation. Co-operation
between the authorities and information technology players also
helps to combat online hate speech. A notable example of self-regulation
is the Charter of European Political Parties for a Non-Racist Society,
which should be updated and relaunched.