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Hate Speech and Democratic Citizenship - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Hate Speech and Democratic Citizenship

Eric Heinze


Contrary to dominant views within international law and institutions, it is never democratically legitimate to punish citizens solely for repulsive or dangerous viewpoints expressed within public discourse. With the controversial exception of the US, however, most states prohibit some forms of racist, sexist, anti-religious, homophobic, or other intolerant speech. Hateful expression surely does afflict many of the people it targets. Most democracies therefore describe bans as—perhaps not always effective, but certainly symbolic—tools for defending the safety and equality of all citizens. Democ ... More

Keywords: Democracy, discrimination, free speech, hate speech, human rights, liberalism, pluralism, racism, tolerance

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780198759027
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759027.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Eric Heinze, author
Professor of Law and Humanities, Queen Mary, University of London