States Mission to the OSCE
OSCE Meeting on the Relationship between Racist, Xenophobic
and Anti-Semitic Propaganda on the Internet and Hate Crimes
..."Let the bright light of truth expose their
bigotry, so their lies can be unmasked"...
As prepared for delivery by Stephan M. Minikes,
Ambassador, U.S. Mission to the OSCE
Closing Session, Paris, June 17, 2004,
you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank the Chairman-in-Office
and our French hosts for organizing this important event and for the
excellent cooperation we have enjoyed with both during the preparations for
this Meeting. The U.S. Delegation has enjoyed and benefited from the
exchanges during this meeting and appreciates the forthright and
constructive contributions of the participants.
No one here questions that the Internet
provides a potent new tool for the dissemination of objectionable speech.
The question is how best to address this potential.
During the past two days, we have heard some
advocate that hate speech on the Internet must be suppressed. Respectfully,
Rather than fear the purveyors of hate, let us
confront them in the marketplace of free ideas, where the bright light of
truth will expose their bigotry and their lies can be unmasked.
Once we surrender to government the power to
determine what ideas may or may not be heard, how do we guarantee the
efficacy of these different decisions and then protect against even greater
restrictions? How can we ensure, for example, that restrictions directed
against what some call religious extremism are not used to target minority
religions, as is already the case among some of those who advocate this
approach? Or that restrictions against so-called xenophobic or racist speech
are not a proxy for stifling political dissent, as we also see happening in
parts of the world?
Demands that governments restrict the new and
widespread dissemination of information are not new. Five hundred years ago,
Gutenberg’s movable-type press prompted many governments to censor all
printed works. The potential for widespread access to information caused
great fear of social change or even upheaval. The spread of the truth was
viewed as a danger. Since then, history is replete with publications that
are unworthy of mention. And yet, the ensuing five centuries have seen both
an ever-wider dissemination of knowledge, and an inexorable march towards
greater democracy and freedom.
Today, the Internet, like the printing press,
can be used to promote unpopular ideas. However, the United States believes
that ultimately the ability of the Internet to promote discourse and
disseminate ideas is the very solution to -- and not a problem in -- the
fight against racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism.
We have discussed differences in the ways that
our respective nations view government regulation of objectionable speech.
More importantly, however, our exchanges over the past two days have also
revealed broad areas of consensus. These are:
First, that participating States and NGOs must
work together both to educate, particularly the young, and to expose the
utter falsehood of the messages conveyed by hate speech. In this regard, we
believe that the techniques and materials produced and employed by
successful educational programs should be widely disseminated. We must also
enable and encourage parents to exercise greater supervision and control
over their children’s use of the Internet. In particular, participating
States and ISPs should take concrete steps to increase parental awareness of
widely available and even free-of-charge filtering software that allows
parents to monitor their children’s Internet access. At the same time, it is
important to note that the Internet represents a valuable, positive
educational tool. Participating States therefore should foster access to the
Internet both in homes and in schools.
Second, it is clear that much study is needed
of the relationship between hate speech on the Internet and biasmotivated
crime. It is also particularly vital that we study how laws restricting hate
speech are currently enforced. On this point, the Representative on Freedom
of the Media should examine whether such laws are being enforced in a
discriminatory or selective manner or are being misused to suppress
political dissent. We are pleased that he has expressed interest in this
Third, this meeting has revealed broad
consensus on the important role played by NGOs and industry groups. We
support the efforts of private organizations to monitor and uncover racist,
xenophobic, and anti-Semitic expression on the Internet and believe it is
imperative that they share this information regularly. In particular, NGOs
can be very effective in alerting ISPs to hate speech, which often violates
“Terms of Service” and “Acceptable Use” clauses that prohibit racist,
xenophobic, and anti-Semitic material.
Finally, this meeting has demonstrated
consensus on some things government itself should do. We agree, for example,
that participating States must vigorously investigate and, where
appropriate, prosecute criminal threats of violence transmitted over the
Internet. Likewise, participating States must vigorously prosecute
perpetrators of all bias-motivated violence. Finally, given the complexities
of such prosecutions, we believe there is a consensus on the need to train
investigators and prosecutors on how to address bias-motivated crimes on the
In conclusion, we believe that a basis now
exists for immediate action. Our discussions have identified common ground
among participating States in a number of areas. Accordingly, the U.S. is
pleased to present a 10-point action plan as a roadmap for immediate
progress that will be attached to our circulated written statement. We look
forward to continuing to work with participating States in the months to
come on these important issues and thank our French hosts for their
U.S. Delegation Ten-Point Action Plan
1. Participating States should take action to
ensure that the Internet remains an open and public forum for the airing of
all viewpoints and to foster access to the Internet both in homes and in
2. Participating States should vigorously
investigate and, where appropriate, fully prosecute bias-motivated violence
and criminal threats of violence on the Internet.
3. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the
Media should study whether laws prohibiting bias-motivated speech are being
enforced in a discriminatory or selective manner or are being misused in any
nation as a means of silencing government critics and suppressing political
4. Participating States should study the
effectiveness of laws regulating Internet content, specifically with regard
to their effect on the rate of racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic crimes.
5. Analytically rigorous studies should be
conducted of the possible relationship between racist, xenophobic, and
anti-Semitic speech on the Internet and the commission of biasmotivated
6. Participating States should collect
information concerning incidents of bias-motivated crimes and publish a
report on an annual basis summarizing this data.
7. Participating States should support the
establishment of programs to educate children about bias-motivated
expression they may encounter on the Internet. Materials from successful
educational programs should be widely disseminated.
8. Participating States and ISPs should take
steps to increase parental awareness of widely available filtering software
that enables parents to exercise greater supervision and control over their
children’s use of the Internet.
9. NGOs should continue and increase their
efforts to monitor the Internet for, share, and publicize their finding of
racist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic content.
10. Participating States should train
investigators and prosecutors on how to address biasmotivated crimes on the
OSCE Meeting on Racist, Xenophobic and Anti-Semitic Propaganda
on the Internet
between freedom of speech and control of incitement
I think it became clear, that
we cannot perceive the internet primarily as a threat, but much more should use
the chance it offers to promote understanding and dialogue in a pluralistic and
from Paris RA)
Public and Private Partnership:
Against Racism, Xenophobia and anti-Semitism on the Internet
An Introduction by Miklós Haraszti, OSCE-Representative on
Freedom of the Media...
Some arguments by Ms. Karin Spaink:
Why discriminatory speech on the internet
cannot – and should not – be banned
OSCE / FOM Objections pertaining to constitutional rights and
Technical and political considerations:
Is prohibiting hate-speech
feasible - or desirable?
At the OSCE Paris conference a number of countries / NGOs
appealed to regulate the internet in order to stop hate speech. However, and
contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as 'the internet'...
Security and Transparency:
Online Propaganda and the Commission of Hate
by Michael Whine, Chairman of the Community Security Trust,
which provides defence and security services for the Jewish community in the
Cyberspace is a reflection of
If we put enough effort in education that promotes respect for differences,
peaceful co-existence and tolerance, the Internet will also become hate-free...
One of the most acute dilemmas facing us at the
outset of the Twenty-First Century:
proliferation of hate material on the internet
Mass communication is not anymore on its infancy. With the
Internet, we are dealing with a phenomenon unparalleled in all of History.
Instant communication is possible, to all points on the globe, at minimum
CONCLUSIONS BY THE CHAIR
OF THE OSCE MEETING
16./17. Juni - OSZE-Konferenz in Paris:
Fremdenhass und Antisemitismus im Internet
Am kommenden Mittwoch und Donnerstag findet in Paris
eine OSZE-Konferenz statt, die die Zusammenhänge zwischen rassistischer,
fremdenfeindlicher und antisemitischer Propaganda im Internet und Hassdelikten
zum Thema hat...
Antisemitische Propaganda im Internet:
Hass ist das Ende der Welt
Methoden zur Rechtsdurchsetzung und Erfahrungen mit
der strafrechtlichen Verfolgung antisemitischer u./o. rechtsextremistischer
Ein Motivvorrat, der in jeder Epoche wieder
aktualisiert werden kann:
Zum Begriff des Antisemitismus
Die Wortbildung basiert auf
sprachwissenschaftlichen und völkerkundlichen Unterscheidungen des ausgehenden
18. Jahrhunderts, in denen mit dem Begriff des Semitismus der "Geist" der
semitischen Völker im Unterschied zu dem der Indogermanen erfasst und abgewertet
(English) OSCE Conference Berlin- Session 4 / David Gall]