A G20 Interfaith Forum Policy Brief (Draft)
October 12, 2020
Hate Speech: A Global Phenomenon that demands collaboration and engagement of religious and non-religious leaders
In a continuously globalising reality, hate speech has increasingly become a powerful factor in the spread of misinformation that aggravates prejudice, and spurs and heightens discriminatory practices, through deliberately hateful messages. A broad spectrum of practices and crafted messages stigtamise disadvantaged and vulnerable communities and individuals, creating a climate of fear, rejection, and exclusion amongst them. This threatens societal values and human rights. Religious and sectarian identities have been used as a focus of hate speech against certain groups and individuals, undermining the values of cultural and religious tolerance, diversity, and pluralism. Different politicians have used hate speech to promote specific political agendas, especially during elections or transitional periods. Disseminating hate speech can lead to incitement to violence, and both undermine the basic human right of religious freedom and belief. There are some challenges to addressing hate speech, particularly difficulties surrounding its definition but still more with tension between hate speech and freedom of expression.
Engaging religious actors and policy makers in combating hate speech is a priority concern of the G20 Interfaith Forum. G20 religious leaders and institutions, including leading interreligious bodies, are engaging with international and national policymakers to counter hate speech but there far more action and partnerships are needed. By increasing mutual support through engagement, understanding, harmonisation, and coordination of efforts, the impact of efforts to tackle this global challenge can befar greater. The topic merits specific attention and strategic reflection by the G20 leaders at their Summit.
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