Hate speech and religious minorities in the digital age

The world iexperiences dilemmas in regulating hateful online expression. Free speech can be offensive and contribute to a climate of prejudice against minorities. The paper engages with the normative dimensions of the balance between the need to limit incitement to violence in reconciliation with the right to free speech. Three aspects of hate speech are covered: the first relates to the role of freedom of expression as a tool of inclusiveness. With the limits of liberal tolerance being unclear, legal systems are torn between criminalising the speaker’s motive alone or in conjunction with the effects of the speech. The second aspect looks at the challenges of the regulation of online free speech. The final aspect of the paper proposes an actor-based analysis of hate speech from a governance perspective. This section deals with the role of the State and that of equality bodies, political parties and private businesses in providing more efficient networks of protection of minorities.