About the Lecture
What constitutes hate speech and what makes it dangerous? The term hate speech has been defined loosely and takes different interpretations for the speaker and the listener. The speakers who express views forcefully believe they are expressing their right to speak freely. The listeners consider the speech they don't like or agree with as hate speech. Laws impose restrictions on free speech in most jurisdictions, and litigation can restrict free expression of ideas. But sustained hate speech can kill - genocides begin with normalisation of hatred through speech - action follows later, as examples from Rwanda and Bosnia show. A new framework, which distinguishes between hate speech and dangerous speech can provide clarity to distinguish between speech that promotes hate and violence and the ideas we hate but are merely controversial, provocative, hurtful, shocking, and disgusting for some. Negotiating that space is the challenge for democracies in the age of the Internet.
About the Speaker
Salil Tripathi is the Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International, since 2015. He is an award-winning journalist and writer. He was born in India and has been a foreign correspondent in Singapore and Hong Kong and now lives in London. He is contributing editor at Mint and Caravan in India. His articles have also appeared in many international newspapers and magazines. His awards include the Citibank Pan Asia Economic Journalism Award in 1994, third prize at the Bastiat awards in 2011, and Red Ink Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2015. His books include Offence: The Hindu Case (Seagull, 2009), The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and its Unquiet Legacy (Aleph, 2014 and Yale University Press, 2016), and Detours: Songs of the Open Road (Tranquebar, 2015). He is currently working on a book about Gujaratis.
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