The advent of the internet and globalization has brought numerous challenges for contemporary society. The internet has become a forum for fringe groups to express their views, beliefs and values. Online hate has become a critical issue for policy makers, researchers and parents. This paper studies the phenomenon of online hate in Canada. It looks at the relevant laws which distinguish between free speech and hate speech. It studies the methods of online hate sites. Finally it gives recommendations as to how the problem can be rectified.
Introduction Hate is defined as the emotion that promotes hostility or acrimony towards others on basis of sex, ethnic background, gender, religion or race. Hate is also defined as the feeling that encourages and promotes aggression against, division from, detesting or violent behavior towards others on foundation of racial discrimination, religious background, ethnicity, sex, caste and creed. The researcher of Canadian communications Karim indicates that when individuals target others, the targeted group becomes less than human.
Hate mongers transfer their uncertainties and detestation towards the targeted group and then validate their acts of aggression, brutality and degradation. When comparing online hate and free speech, there is a difference. A free speech is the right of any individual to express his or her views without passing any biased racist, ethnic or religious remarks and at the same time stating uncensored opinions. Online hate speech crosses the line of free speech and different countries have different tolerance levels. Hate speech is an increasing problem in need of authorized bylaws and censorships.
It is not shocking that the internet has come into sight as a particular focus for concern. Antagonists argue that the most excellent answer to hate speech is not criminalization. Many people on the internet express their opinions. It means that people who are actually thinking these ideas are using internet as the medium to express it. Debates on the internet are often confirmed to be aggravating for those who try several attempts to make repeated arguments (De Santis, 2006). Debates on Holocaust, authenticity of scriptures or certain racial groups are substandard are often found over the internet.
The communication or collaboration of users through newsgroups guarantees that false statements were opposed by beneficial and vigorous debate. Consequently, hate mongers soon drew back into less interactive zones of cyberspace. However, the cyberspace has become the online forum of option for hate groups particularly because it permits them to ignore interacting with those who conflict with their viewpoints. Most of the planned haters criticize about civil rights protesters who assess critically their manifestos in interactive forums and groups.
In contrast, hate mongers have the option to refuse to publish unfavorable messages on their websites. Websites also assist hate groups recognize prospective recruits who can be brought into the hate community by means of private chat rooms and email. Antagonist argue that the regulation of hate speech frequently state that they encourage the principle of free speech but that there is a difference between standing up of free speech as it has been conventionally understood and permitting people to state detestable ideas.
Former UK home secretary David Blunkett gave the proposal to introduce an offence of incitement to religious hatred into British law. He asserted that the people’s right to discuss religious matters and proselytize would be sheltered, but it cannot be acceptable to create religious differentiation to create hatred (Hoffman, 2006). The Additional Protocol to the Convention on cyber-crime calls upon the requirement to guarantee a proper equilibrium between the freedom of expression and efficient clash against acts of racists and intolerant nature. But this concept of balance is disputed (Matas, 2005).
Unless we have given the right to say and express what we believe and to experience whatever feeling we like including hate and to hate whomever we have selected, then how can we be said to be free at all? According to the European human rights tradition, rights are frequently balanced with one another and with equivalent responsibilities. The most well-known supporters of human rights agree that it is a complicated exercise. The issue is not on that some individuals peddle hatred. But the major concern about the online hate speech that it reveals high level of official contempt for the users of the internet.
There is a terror that people viewing hateful content on their computer will unsuspectingly take up those ideas and be encouraged to commit violent and hostile acts as a result. Therefore, it is a requirement to protect the public from hateful ideas online in the same way children are protected from sites containing pornography and violence (Matas, 2005). We have the knowledge that the internet is the host of massive amount of ideas. Some of these ideas are good, some are bad and some are worthless.
Online Hate and the Law The freedom of expression is the important factor that can lead to healthy democracy. Although, xenophobic and hateful comments are unpleasant to the vast majority of Canadians, they are not necessarily against the law. Criminal Code of Canada According to The Criminal code of Canada, hatred can be defined as supporting eradication of entire ethnic group, public provoke abhorrence and deliberately promoting hatred against any targeted group (Media Awareness Group, 2008). The targeted group is defined as any segment of the society distinguished by color, race, creed and ethnic background.
Hatred aimed at other groups such as women and homosexuals is not liable to be punished by under the sections of 318 and 319 of Criminal Code of Canada. The specifications provided by this coded prohibits public allocation of hate half truths. Online communications that support genocide and intentionally promote hatred fall within the specifications provided by the Criminal Code because the internet is community structure. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms The Canadian charter of rights and freedoms assures freedom of reflection, faith, view, judgment, attitude and expression to all its citizens (Media Awareness Group, 2008).
However, all rights provided by the charter are subjected to rational restrictions that can obviously vindicate in an open and democratic society. Canadian Human Rights Act The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits the communication through electronic communication responsibility of messages that depict abhorrence and detestation on the basis of ethnicity or nationality, race, color, religious background, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, family status (Media Awareness Group, 2008).
Broadcasting Act and Immigration Act The Broadcasting Act is the act of Parliament of Canada regarding the broadcasting of electronic communication and online media. It was given royal assent on February 11, 1991. They are a set of laws coming under the broadcasting Act forbid any licensee from distributing or spreading programs that contains insulting and offensive remarks about a person or groups (Media Awareness Group, 2008). These laws are applied to electronic media as well as the online media. The Immigration Act stops the hate material from entering Canada and rejects right of entry to individual hate mongers.
Deconstructing Hate Sites As the years have gone by, technologies and new means of communicating offense and hatred have evolved. Semitism, racism, bigotry and hatred are found in the vast cyberspace. The practice to deconstruct messages which depicts lack of knowledge, unawareness, fictitious knowledge and misinformation so that the messages of hate that comes in the reader way are reduced is deconstructing hate sites (Matas, 2005). Analytical thinking abilities are mandatory tool when deconstructing hate sites. It is the best way of fighting hate. When users are confronted by hate online, individuals will know how to identify hate sites.
Working to expose this online hatred and to educate the society is the best practice to combat online hate. Mutual Features of Hate Sites Verbal violence is one of the major aspects of any hate website. Verbal violence is the substitute for actual violence and that the verbalization of hate has the capability to provoke people who are incapable of distinguishing between real and verbal violence to engage in real violent behavior. By characterizing speech acts as violence, anti hate websites have made an effort to sideline freedom of speech.
Hate websites create individuality through the use of symbols, myths and rituals designed to improve their status and at the same time humiliate the object of their abhorrence (Matas, 2005). Most of hate sites focus on extreme and unreasonable suspicion when they regularly hold responsible the target groups for any number of communal, financial or political problems. These hate sites are successful in inventing evidence to support their statements. Many hate sites use religious scriptures to promote their hate propaganda on their websites.
They give the idea that their statements are blessed by moral virtue and are directed by supreme power. Common Strategies of Online Hate- Mongers Most of online websites, forums and groups focus on protecting particular race from mixing or direct intimidations from other races. These hate mongers believe in existence and significance of racial groups but not essentially in a pecking order between the races or in any political or ideological position of racial superiority and domination. Obviously racist sites are easiest to identify because they fit to the conventional image of skinhead hate group (Matas, 2005).
However, many hate websites attempt not to reveal their racist agenda. Hate mongers have use simulated logical intellectualized language and include the work of university based academics to make their viewpoints more convincing. One of the common tactics used by haters is to argue that certain historical event did not take place or was not significant than the historical records that already exist. Many websites that promote hatred show patriotism in their content. Another tactic of hate group is that they pretend to exist for non hateful intentions.
For example, at first quick look of the website martinlutherking. rg, it emerges out as site that contains historical information about King and the civil rights development but after going through it. One will find it that it encourages racism and anti-Semitism (Mock, 2007). Hate symbols are used by hate mongers online to give them the sense of power and belonging and a rapid way of recognize others who have their mutual ideology. Tactics for Recruiting Young People Hate groups focus on recruiting young people to promote their hatred agenda. They use the methodology of distributing their brochures in schools and neighborhood mailboxes.
The internet has been favorable for these hate mongers to directly target youngsters through hate music and websites. The recruitment strategies include usage of music, videogames, and online activities for children and cartoon spokesperson. Music is one of the most convincing ways to sway teenagers and youngsters. Teenagers may access websites that promote hate music. Racist music has hostile lyrics that can easily brainwash teenagers. Every year in Canada more than 50000 white power CDS are put on the market. Another approach used to d\raw young people is white versions of prevalent computer videogames (Mock, 2007).
Teenagers go online looking for the newest videogames but may find the altered version of it. Some hate sites also offer distinctive sections for children that may contain violent games and activities to promote their hidden agenda. Hate websites also use animated characters similar to those used in children’s media to attract children. Protecting Children and Teenagers from Online Hatred It is essential to protect young people from hateful content when they access the Internet. Various schools and libraries have started using Internet- content filters in order to provide a safe internet environment for younger people.
Some institutions have installed filters specifically on the internet stations. When filtering software falls short of being effective, over blocking or under blocking of material is the next option. In general filtering software products are useful to separate appropriate and inappropriate content by assembling category lists of hate speech content and violence (Armony, 2005). Users can decide which content to be blocked by selection of pre-determined category list. Technology aided with human monitoring can help protect youngsters from hate speech that is being spread on the internet.
With the help of supervision of an adult, youngsters will be protected from the hate speech which would result in safe environment. Combating Online Hate There are several options to combat online hate. One of the most common ways to combat online hate is to contact internet service providers and to ask them to clearly define their policies for using their services. Another method involves reporting online hate to the police (Armony, 2005). By filing a complaint against these hate sites, the police will be able to inspect online crimes.
Also various kinds of commissions have been formed to stop the publishing of hate material on websites. Various government authorities from all over the world have set up organizations to control the hate crime. Conclusion With the development of technology, hate speech has been able to spread throughout the cyberspace. The internet is a social network but not like shopping malls, play grounds or local community centers. Although, online hate is readily found but by keeping youngsters safe from these threats whether online or offline will require a combination of adult supervision, technology and education.