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Countering hate speech: a task for today and every day

Petra Bayr (Austria, SOC), PACE General Rapporteur on combating racism and intolerance, made the following statement to mark the International Day for countering hate speech (18 June 2022):

“Today we mark the first ever International day for countering hate speech. I warmly welcome this UN initiative and I hope it will become an annual reminder of our shared commitment to stamping out hate speech, racism and intolerance, a daily combat for us all.

I am proud to say that the Council of Europe has recently taken some major steps in this area. A brand new Committee of Ministers Recommendation sets out what the 46 Council of Europe governments must do to combat hate speech, and offers clear guidance to public officials, political parties, internet intermediaries, the media and civil society, among others.

Here in PACE we are also taking action, and next week we will debate two important texts in this field. Firstly, I hope the Assembly will approve my own report on combating antisemitism, in which I set out a series of measures to address the challenges that Jewish individuals and communities face today. Secondly, we will be urging political parties across Europe to sign up to a revised charter for a “non-racist and inclusive society”. This updates and expands the scope of the original Charter from 1998, which has already been signed by some 80 European parties.

Finally, our Assembly has a very active No Hate Parliamentary Alliance, which I have the honour to chair. We share ideas and good practice, and carry these to our national parliaments where possible. We need to join forces against racism, intolerance and hate speech, today and every day.”