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Ending cyberdiscrimination and online hate

Doc. 14217: collection of written amendments | Doc. 14217 | 24/01/2017 | Revised version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1The internet is an exceptional tool and resource that has revolutionised many aspects of our lives and opened up powerful new channels of expression. Freedom of expression is one of the most important foundations of democratic societies, and it is crucial to preserve it, including on the internet. The internet must never become a space in which censorship drowns out dissenting voices, or in which private companies dictate which and whose views can be heard.

24 January 2017

Tabled by Mr Valeriu GHILETCHI, Mr Egidijus VAREIKIS, Mr IonuČ›-Marian STROE, Mr Emanuelis ZINGERIS, Mr Georgii LOGVYNSKYI

Votes: 47 in favor 76 against 17 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 1, after the words "including on the internet.", insert the following words: "It is important to recall that the European Court of Human Rights has held that freedom of expression extends even to statements which offend, shock or disturb sections of the population, and that any limitations on speech must be proportionate to a legitimate aim pursued in order to protect democratic society."

2At the same time, countless individuals are targeted every day by online hate. A person’s real or supposed sex, colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion, migration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political or other opinion, disability or other status may all serve as pretexts to make inflammatory and hateful statements, to harass and abuse a target, to stalk, threaten or incite psychological or physical violence against them. Hate speech is not limited to racism and xenophobia: it may also take the form of sexism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of hate speech directed against specific groups or individuals. Such forms of behaviour, which are not accepted offline, are equally unacceptable online. Just like the face-to-face world, the internet must provide space to be critical, without providing space for hate speech.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 2, after the first sentence, insert the following words: "More and more first, second or third generation migrant children, as well as adoptive and minority children, report experiences of racism as part of their everyday life.".

Explanatory note

The Motion for a resolution “protecting children from racism and hate speech” (Doc. 14040) will be taken into account in Ms Maij's report. The amendment seeks to strengthen this aspect.

24 January 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media

Votes: 144 in favor 2 against 5 abstentions

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 2, after the words "hate speech", insert the following words: "and incitement to violence".

Explanatory note

Incitement to violence is inherent, but does not entirely coincide with hate speech; for this reason it is suggested to mention it explicitly so that action against hate speech could also help to address more adequately this intertwined phenomenon.

24 January 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination

In amendment 4, replace the word "and" with the word "including".

3The European Court of Human Rights has recognised that the protection of freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5) does not extend to racist or xenophobic speech. Other international instruments also address racist and xenophobic speech but do not cover all forms of hate speech; moreover, not all international standards have been universally accepted. However, although a single, harmonised definition of hate speech is not applicable across all Council of Europe member States, all have definitions of hate speech and discrimination in domestic law. National legislation may thus already allow effective measures to be taken against some forms of online hate, but it does not always cover all such behaviour or capture new forms of communication effectively. These gaps in the law must be addressed in order to provide effective protection against online hate.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3, after the word "instruments", insert the following words: ", such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime (ETS No. 189),"

Explanatory note

Cyber discrimination and online hate are specifically addressed by Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination as well as the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe. These legal standards should be borne in mind.

4Online hate is a reflection of hate in our societies. It is crucial therefore that strategies to eliminate hate in the online environment acknowledge and tackle the hatred and intolerance in people’s hearts and minds. In parallel, however, such strategies must also recognise and address the specificities of the online environment and of people’s behaviour online, such as the scope for instant and broad dissemination of internet content; possible anonymity and the uninhibited interactions this may foster; and the difficulties inherent in taking legal action, where this is needed, in cases that frequently cross international borders.
5Strategies to prevent and combat online hate must also recognise that the internet has become an omnipresent and indispensable communication tool, from which people cannot simply walk away in order to avoid abuse, especially where their job requires them to be in the public eye.
6There is also a need to clarify the responsibility and role of internet intermediaries that provide the tools, forums and platforms on which internet communications occur, as regards preventing and combating online hate.

24 January 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media

Votes: 154 in favor 2 against 1 abstention

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 6, insert the following sentence: "In this respect, the Assembly emphasises that legislation in member States must be guided by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, such as its Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Delfi AS v. Estonia."

Explanatory note

The European Court of Human Rights has clarified in its Grand Chamber judgment Delfi AS v. Estonia (Application no. 64569/09) the responsibility of internet service providers for hate speech posted by third parties. It is useful to bear this landmark judgment in mind.

24 January 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination

In the amendment 6, delete the words: "such as its Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Delfi AS v. Estonia".

7In the light of the above, and bearing in mind the relevant recommendations made in its Resolution 2069 (2015) on recognising and preventing neo-racism, the Assembly calls on the Council of Europe member States:

24 January 2017

Tabled by Mr Valeriu GHILETCHI, Mr Egidijus VAREIKIS, Mr IonuČ›-Marian STROE, Mr Emanuelis ZINGERIS, Mr Georgii LOGVYNSKYI

Votes: 59 in favor 74 against 16 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7, after the words "In the light of the above,", insert the following words: "recalling the importance of safeguarding the right of freedom of expression,"

7.1in view of the international dimension of online communications, to:
7.1.1ratify, if they have not already done so, the Convention on Cybercrime (ETS No. 185) and its Additional Protocol concerning the criminalisation of acts of racist or xenophobic nature committed through computer systems (ETS No. 189);
7.1.2work together to ensure that harmonised and comprehensive definitions of hate speech can be applied in cases of online hate, and draw in this respect on the recommendations of the European Commission against Racism (ECRI) and Intolerance in its General Policy Recommendation No. 15 on combating hate speech;
7.2with regard to national legislation, to:
7.2.1ensure, in conformity with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, that the national law allows for the effective prosecution of online hate speech, while fully respecting freedom of expression and in particular the freedom to criticise the actions of public authorities;
7.2.2ensure that national legislation covers all forms of online bullying, harassment, threats and stalking, so that these can be effectively prosecuted under national law;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7.2.2, after the word "online", insert the following words: "incitement to violence against a person or a group of persons,"

Explanatory note

Paragraph 7.2.2 requires that all forms of online bullying, harassment, threats and stalking shall be "effectively prosecuted under national law". It seems appropriate to include online conduct which publicly incites violence against a person or a group of persons.

7.2.3amend national legislation or policy guidelines wherever necessary to ensure that the full range of characteristics considered as grounds of protection under discrimination law are taken into account in online hate cases, including sex, colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political or other opinion, disability or other status;
7.3with regard to the enforcement of national legislation, to:
7.3.1provide training to police, prosecutors and judges on the seriousness of all forms of online hate, including online hate speech, bullying, harassment, threats and stalking;
7.3.2provide training and clear guidance to police on the need to record all reported incidents of online hate and investigate them expeditiously and effectively, and on how to do so; such training and guidance should also explain the avenues of assistance available to the police where they lack the technical capacity to investigate themselves;
7.3.3provide training and clear guidance also to prosecutors and judges on the ways in which the existing law can be applied in cases of online hate;
7.3.4ensure that victims’ complaints of online hate are taken seriously and that they receive full support in dealing with its consequences;
7.3.5provide instruments to identify online hate and promote its removal;
7.4with regard to prevention, education and awareness raising, to:
7.4.1raise awareness in society about the extent and impact of online hate;
7.4.2ensure that children and young people are educated at an early age about both the exceptional possibilities and the challenges of online exchanges; also ensure that online competences are included as an essential element of school curricula;

In the draft resolution, at the beginning of paragraph 7.4.2, replace the words "ensure that" with the following words: "recognise that children and young people are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of cyber discrimination and online hate and it should thus be ensured that".

Explanatory note

The Motion for a resolution "protecting children from racism and hate speech" (Doc. 14040) has been taken into account in Ms Maij's report. The amendment seeks to strengthen this aspect.

7.4.3launch programmes and support initiatives from civil society and other relevant actors to encourage responsible use of the internet, to combat cyberbullying but also to help victims to handle it, to empower individuals to develop counter-speech and alternative narratives to online hate speech, re-establish dialogue and de-escalate online conflicts, and to mobilise networks of and build alliances amongst actors against online hate;
7.4.4ensure that such initiatives and programmes are sustainably funded and designed to have a lasting impact on people’s attitudes to online hate;
7.4.5organise regular events to underscore the ongoing need to combat hate, for example by recognising 22 July as the European Day for Victims of Hate Crime, as called for by the Assembly in its Recommendation 2052 (2014) on counteraction to manifestations of neo-Nazism and right-wing extremism;
7.5with regard to internet intermediaries, to:
7.5.1ensure that the standards on freedom of speech set by the European Convention on Human Rights are applied to online communications in member States;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7.5.1, after the words "the European Convention on Human Rights", insert the following words: "and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance".

Explanatory note

Besides the case law of the European Convention on Human Rights, the most advanced and specific work on this subject has been accomplished by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. Therefore, it would be appropriate to mention the latter in this sub-paragraph.

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 7.5.1, insert the following paragraph:

"encourage internet intermediaries to establish clear and effective internal processes to deal with notifications regarding hate speech;"

Explanatory note

Cases of cyberdiscrimination and online hate become generally known through users notifying them to their internet service providers. Therefore, those providers should establish clear and effective internal processes to deal with such notifications.

7.5.2promote efforts by such intermediaries to ensure that content that amounts to online hate speech, bullying, harassment, threats or stalking on any of the grounds mentioned in paragraph [7.2.3] above is rapidly removed, without prejudice to the possibility of taking legal proceedings against its author;
7.5.3encourage such intermediaries to take online hate speech seriously and to co-operate closely with the law-enforcement authorities, while respecting data protection requirements as defined by law, in cases concerning online hate;

24 January 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media

Votes: 150 in favor 1 against 0 abstention

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7.5.3, replace the words "data protection requirements as defined by law" with the following words: "international standards on data protection".

Explanatory note

Data protection could hamper legal co-operation and assistance between law enforcement authorities. The right to protection of personal data is not an absolute right, but can be restricted when required for the suppression of criminal offences.

24 January 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination

In Amendment 11, replace the words "international standards on data protection" with the following words: "the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108)".

7.5.4establish by law, where this has not already been done, the responsibility and role of internet intermediaries as regards the removal of online hate-motivated content, using as far as possible a notice-and-take-down approach.
8Finally, the Assembly invites national parliaments to mobilise against hate speech and all forms of racism and intolerance, in particular through participating in initiatives such as the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance developed by the Assembly.

24 January 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media

Votes: 44 in favor 90 against 22 abstentions

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 8, insert the following words: "and through backing stakeholders’ initiatives, such as the campaign Media Against Hate by Article 19, the European Federation of Journalists and others."

Explanatory note

Article 19, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and other organisations have started the campaign “Media Against Hate” (http://europeanjournalists.org/mediaagainsthate/ ). Such initiative should be welcomed and mentioned, in order to encourage synergetic cooperation with this campaign.

CDraft Recommendation

1The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution … (2017) on ending cyberdiscrimination and online hate, in which it calls on member States to take a number of measures to combat the rising tide of online hate, including recognising the diverse grounds on which people are today targeted by hate speech and taking into account the rapidly evolving forms of online hate and of the media through which it is disseminated.
2The Assembly observes that online hate is not an isolated phenomenon specific to certain Council of Europe member States, but a pan-European problem that can best be tackled on the basis of shared experiences and good practice among member States.
3The Assembly therefore asks the Committee of Ministers to:
3.1review and update its Recommendation No. R (97) 20 on “hate speech”, in order to ensure that it continues to provide an effective basis for combating all forms of this phenomenon, including online hate, and that it covers all the grounds on which victims may be targets of hate speech;

In the draft recommendation, after paragraph 3.1, insert the following paragraph:

"review and update its Internet Governance Strategy 2016-2019 having regard to Resolution … (2017) on ending cyber discrimination and online hate as well as Resolution … (2017) on online media and journalism: challenges and accountability;"

Explanatory note

The Committee of Ministers has adopted its Internet Governance Strategy 2016-2019, in order to guide the work of the Council of Europe in this field. It is important that the Committee of Ministers update it, taking account of the relevant resolutions of the Assembly

24 January 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media

Votes: 141 in favor 1 against 3 abstentions

In the draft recommendation, after paragraph 3.1, insert the following paragraph:

"launch work on education against racism and hate speech, focusing in particular on children;"

Explanatory note

The Motion for a resolution "protecting children from racism and hate speech" (Doc. 14040) shall be taken into account in the report of Ms Maij. The amendment seeks to strengthen this aspect.

24 January 2017

Tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination

In Amendment 14, replace the word "launch" with the following words: "step up".

3.2reconsider the possibility of declaring 22 July the “European Day for Victims of Hate Crime”, in commemoration of the day of the terrorist attacks in Oslo and on Utøya Island (Norway);
3.3bring Resolution … (2017) to the attention of the governments of the member States.