Hate and Free SpeechBook - 2000
The modern world's already overwhelming capacity for communicating seems to now grow exponentially. In our world of twenty-four-hour global stock trading, incessant consumer polling, and unfettered media access, information is immediate, direct, and often profound in its effect. Do the misuses of this power, by governments as well as fringe elements, require us to reconsider how we define and value free speech? In a civil and democratic society, how do we resolve the conflict between our notions of hate crimes and freedom of expression?
In his thorough and articulate book, David Matas examines the need for boundaries on hate speech and how these intersect with such other fundamental rights as freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and academic freedom. From the ineffective hate laws of the German Weimar Republic to the excesses of South Africa's hate speech laws, he considers the practicalities of legislation, and with modern examples from real-life cases and special attention to the internet, options for not just preventing the promotion of hatred, but for promoting universal respect for human rights.