The world is experiencing intense dilemmas in regulating hate speech and online harassment. The paper engages with the normative dimensions of the balance between the need to control and limit incitement to violence with the fundamental right to freedom of expression. Three distinct aspects of hate speech are covered: the first relates to the role of freedom of expression as a tool of inclusiveness. 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 legal challenges of regulating freedom of expression with emphasis on its online dimensions. The final aspect of the paper proposes an actor-based analysis of hate speech, as it emerges from the current regulatory frameworks. It deals with the role of the State but also with that of equality bodies, political parties and private businesses in providing more efficient networks of protection of minorities from violent expressions of hatred.