An opposition MP from the Prosperous Armenia party on Friday voiced her concerns over the increasing trends of hate speech in the social media, calling for a joint action to elaborate mechanisms to regulate the problem.
At a roundtable debate entitled Violence and Hate Speech, Naira Zohrabyan said she hasn’t yet personally come up with a clear answer suggesting proper ways to settle the existing controversies over the issue.
She added that their joint discussions with lawyers ″have not yet helped identify the slightly visible borders″ to avoid restrictions on freedom of speech while preventing also the language of hate.
″We conducted an interesting monitoring in an attempt to identify the causes of abusive language on the Internet. My observations revealed that those people never read posts; all they see are specific images causing them to move to using bad language,″ she said, warning of the potential hazards.
Zohrabyan cited the German precedent, particularly Article 130 of the country’s Criminal Code, which she said threatens imprisonment of up to five years to any person ever spreading hate language. The lawmaker noted that public defamation and degrading statements (with occasional calls for revenge) also constitute a crime under the country’s legislation.
″Recommendation No. 97/20 of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers clearly gives the [definition of] ‘hate language’. Hate language applies to all the forms of speech that spread, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-semitism or all the forms of hatred on the grounds of intolerance. France and a number of EU countries are currently considering stricter accountability measures against hate language in the social [networks] and media,″ she added.