Watch the full video (above) of the lecture on ‘Hate Speech or the Speech We Hate’ featuring Salil Tripathi.
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.
Salil Tripathi is the Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International, since 2015. He is an award-winning journalist and writer.
The question and answer session that followed can be accessed here.