We must control hate speech
Anyone on social media must have noticed the phenomenon of hate speech targeting specific groups of people, notably immigrants and the police. Some persons who posted hateful comments about these groups of people on Facebook have been caught, taken to Court and are now paying for their sins.
What can be done to control hate speech? The public, especially those who use social media, needs to establish what constitutes hate speech so that effective ways to control it can be established. This is possible by creating awareness and educating the public about the cause and effect of such discourse. Education is an effective tool when it comes to increasing tolerance and controlling prejudice.
Hate speech involves the extreme categorisation of an individual or groups of individuals so that these people can be insulted. We need to make sure that prejudice and intolerance does not become the order of the day in our society. Words make strong weapons and while one individual may not react to hate speech or violence another might.
For intolerance to become accepted, there simply needs to be indifference on the part of the general public. We should not lose sight of the ultimate aim to create a world where communities tolerate one another. We need to create initiatives and identify effective measures to protect vulnerable people, groups of people and individuals from hate speech and an inclination to violence. Hate speech is a symptom or manifestation of intolerance and closed mindedness within society.
Legal measures, such as restrictions on freedom of expression, are not sufficient. For the issue to be truly tackled, the public needs to be educated and we must change the way we think and widen our perspectives by strengthening dialogue and education about tolerance and diversity.
Our reaction to hate speech should be a comprehensive legal framework that comprises strong legislation against discrimination as well as increased respect for one another. Freedom of speech can, in fact, be the best way to reach individuals and drastically change their perceptions of those around them.