Silencing Hate Speech: Censorship Or Civility?

  • by Hellenic American Union
A panel discussion in English on hate speech,organized as part of the international series of panel discussions entitled "Battle of Ideas".

In 2017, a member of the Greek parliament and a far-right party member was convicted for inciting violence against immigrants, in a move that was widely praised for offering some security to Greek democracy. In the UK, Theresa May’s General Election manifesto pledge to prevent online providers from directing users “to hate speech and pornography”.

But it’s not just governments who are seeking to limit hateful speech. Twitter has recently turned to academic psychologists to help improve the “health” of conversations online.

At the same time videos of Islamist extremists encouraging young jihadis to carry out terrorist attacks are readily available after a few minutes of surfing YouTube while Anders Breivik was an avid consumer and sharer of racist, hateful content on his Facebook page and other online sources.

Is there a direct correlation between people spurting hateful words and others carrying out violent actions? Are egregious ideologies likely to influence the thoughts and actions of wider society for the worse? Or will the principle of allowing speech to be made freely – no matter how hateful – help society develop for the better?

Speaking at the event will be: Stelios Virvidakis (Professor of Philosophy, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), Sophia Katsochi (Instructor, Hellenic American College), Sotiris Sideris (Journalist, Coordinator of the ‘Young Journalists’ project, Network for Children’s Rights) and Ella Whelan (Journalist, TV & Radio commentator, author). Moderator: Geoff Kidder (Director, membership and events, Academy of Ideas).

The event is organized in cooperation with the Academy of Ideas and Hellenic American College...