Political Ideas And Ideologies

Introduction to Political Ideas And Ideologies

Around the world, it is continuously observed that a numerous disturbing thoughts, disagreements, violence, anger, racism and intolerance are prevailing every now and then. Several groups are facing various levels of intolerances that include rising hatred and persecution of religious groups. Social media and many other platforms are used for communicating such hate speeches enormously and instantly. There is no pre-set concept of hatred speeches even though this expression is very common. Instead, these are differences in the perception for the term and people tend to present vivid definitions with analytical and cultural debates and discussions on the terms of freedom of speech. A silver thin line difference between protected speech and hate speech exists. In simple words, the speech that one’s side agrees with can be termed as a ‘Protected Speech’ whereas the speech that one’s side disagrees with is termed as a ‘Hate speech’. [1,3]

Defining Hate Speech- Causes & Effect

Many times, the constitutionalists make acknowledgements about hate speeches that are so unpleasant and consequently result in an unhealthy social environment whenever they see billboards, blogs or placards. [1] Hate speeches turmoil communities by sowing seeds of distrust, hatred, violence and fear. As marginalisation and language exclusion have entered the media coverage, social platforms and national levels, hate speeches are arising gradually. If left ungoverned, that may conduct to severe mass devastation, violence and much more.

According to the United Nations, hate speech is understood broadly as, “any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language concerning a person or a group based on who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factors”. [2] If the issues are not monitored then it may cause distrust or hatred-based activities against marginalised groups. There may be instances where hate speeches can motivate violence, but they cannot be left unseen as these statements have the potentials to spread violence and anger that can cause decriminalizing acts of hate. Also, kindly refer to the figure for the “Hate Speech Pyramid” that clearly defines the various stages of any hate speech.

The Function of Hate Speeches in a Democratic Social Order

In the past many decades, the pivot was on hatred based on racism, antisemitism, and historical revisionism but in the 1990s, the word “hate speech” attained a very different sort of momentum. With the new millennium, awareness on the topic has come to include religious minorities (especially Muslims, increasingly targeted by threats and discrimination) and, more recently, women, LGBT persons, the disabled, and the elderly.[2]

The provocation that leads to distrust, hatred and later violence includes key elements such as a context conducive to violence, an influential speaker, a speech act that is widely disseminated, a receptive audience and a target (typically marginalised groups). An act constitutes incitement to violence when there is intent on the part of the speaker to advocate or cause violence. There also needs to be a likelihood that the act may result in violence. So, not every hate speech is provoking but at the same time it is important to clarify whether the hate speech is leading to discrimination, hostility or violence. Though up to some extent hate speeches are healthy in a democratic social order, yet it should be ensured that there is no major harm or losses to the people of the nation. Hence, the government needs to understand what a hate speech looks like before prohibiting any kind of hate speech.[3]

Protection of Hate Speeches

Here, the question arises, hate speeches should be protected by the government or it could be left unattended. Many times, it has been observed that the ‘controversial thoughts’ are frequently referred to as ‘hate speeches’ which is completely wrong. It should be made clear that what the reason behind those controversial thoughts is. Also, it has been observed that religious leaders are implemental in battling hate speeches and discrimination, as these actions weaken the values of religious diversity and philosophy. Unfortunately, it has been observed in many cases that the frequent misuse of religion has been done to justify provoking violence activities. [3,1,5] Consequently, it becomes pivotal for the religious leaders from all the religions and beliefs to set an ideal for their respective followers. Though it the first and prime duty of the government of any democratic nation to prevent provoking hate speeches amongst the public but at the same time people and the individual should understand their responsibilities to stand against such hate and violence provoking speeches amongst themselves, groups and communities while living in their nation. [1]

Restriction of Hate Speeches by the Government

A number of ways can be opted to prohibit and counteract hate speeches. At many times, it becomes vital and a prime role for the government to prohibit and restrict hate speeches to maintain unity and integrity among masses. The ways which the government can adopt to restrict such speeches may include the following:

  1. Take appropriate actions to raise consciousness by employing mass training or preparing the public of the nation to undertake the risks of distrust and fear.
  2. Set up cyber vigilance cells that are responsible to report social media posts that spread rumours or wrong information.

Encourage and indulge in positive messages on online and social media platforms

  1. Support and assist person/public that is aimed by unpleasant hatred speeches by promoting the policymakers to take action against people involved in spreading hatred.
  2. Organise training and workshops on conflict-sensitive media to help journalists develop the ethical capacities to identify sources of conflict, and to report news correctly and fairly. [1,3]
  3. Effect of Prohibiting Hate Speeches by the Government

Hate speech or expressing one’s opinions in the speech has always been the burning title of various debates and discussions due to several terrorists’ attacks. The terrorist attack on the satirical magazine’s Paris office, in January 2015, has led to many questioning whether free speech is used as an excuse to be offensive. Free expression and prohibiting hate speeches again have a thin line difference which explains why exercising our right to freedom of speech or expression is not as childlike as living in a democratic nation/community that broadly respects rights. [2] Instead of prohibiting hate speeches, many times voice of the individual, groups or communities get denied due to which they lag from the active participation which leads to limit their fundamental rights as well as their ability to improvise their lives. Therefore, the barriers must be efficiently tackled from poverty to discrimination to violence and distrust so that access to speech freedom rights is not limited and at the same time government can prevent the hate speeches. Also, the management and policies of the government of the nation define what effect the masses will experience when the hate speeches are prohibited and restricted healthily. [4,5]

Impact of Allowing Freedom of Speech

Before jumping onto the impact of freedom of speech or expression, it is crucial to decipher what it is. ‘Freedom of Speech or Expression’ is the basic human right that rewards every other human right, and at the same time allowing society to develop and progress. To bring about any kind of change in society one should be able to express his/her own opinion and speak fearlessly and freely.

Rachael Jolley, the Censorship magazine editor, considers that healthily expressing one’s opinion is essential to switch from hate speeches. “Free speech has always been important throughout history because it has been used to fight for change. [1] When we talk about rights today, they wouldn’t have been achieved without free speech. Think about a time from the past – women not being allowed the vote, or terrible working conditions in the mines – free speech is important as it helped change these things” she said.

Therefore, as it can be widely observed that freedom of speech is an essential right for the democratic nation, this right plays a vital role in the lives of people of that nation. The government should prevent hiding the hate speeches taking place amongst its masses instead of ‘Freedom of Speech’. The misuse of this right of freely expressing the thoughts might not impact the person who is delivering hate speeches thinking it is his/her right, but this impacts the social environment and harmony of the masses to a much larger extent. Hence, the government should take strict actions and recognise such hate speeches which are hidden.

Conclusion on Political Ideas And Ideologies

Thereby, to conclude hate speeches and free speeches have their relevance, the only thin line difference explained above has to be taken care of. Hate speeches are not the loud, shouting voices of people in communities or groups, neither it is an isolated phenomenon of people in the society. These are beyond the right of freedom of speech which is creeping directly into the liberal democracies and authoritarian systems. Social instability, violence and hatred are spread if hate speeches are propagated amongst masses. And, this disintegration might lead to breaking through the peace and harmony of any nation. Hence, acting as jeopardise to the democratic values, peace and social stability. The government should prohibit propagating hate speeches amongst masses by any means but at the same time should ensure the decorum of the right to freedom of speech. Policies, rules and regulations should be carefully laid down by the government so that the silver line variation between different meanings of hate speech and free speech could be maintained.

References for Political Ideas And Ideologies

[1] Charlotte H. Taylor, “Hate Speech and Government Speech”, published in April 2010

[2] Kathleen Ann Ruane, Legislative Attorney, “Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment”, published in Congressional Research Service, 7-5700, September 8, 2014

[3] Samarth Mishra, Aditya Kumar, “Balancing Freedom of Expression and Hate Speech: Case of India”, published in Pramana Research Journal, JISSN No: 2249-2976, June 2019

[4] UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech 18 June, 2019 Synopsis

[5] Waldron, Jeremy, “The Appearance of Hate,” in The Harm in Hate Speech, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2012, chapter 4, pp. 65-104

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