EU: Hate-speech laws a ‘tool of totalitarianism,’ lawyer warns

A conference room in Hofburg Palace, Vienna

Vatican City, Jul 9, 2014 / 06:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During a recent event discussing the origin and implementation of European hate-speech laws, lawyers argued that the “ill-conceived” laws pose a danger to free speech and often stifle constructive dialogue.

“While human rights provisions are meant to limit the reach of the state and empower citizens, hate speech laws do just the opposite – and that is why they are a tool of totalitarianism and not free democracies,” Alliance Defending Freedom’s legal advocate Paul Coleman stated in a July 4 speech.

Coleman’s discourse was part of a side-event hosted by the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe during a July 3 – 4 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (‘OSCE’) Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting, which took place at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.

Referring to the side event’s title “’Hate Speech’ Laws in the OSCE Region: A Growing Threat to Freedom of Expression,” Coleman explained to CNA July 8 that the laws are not well defined, and therefore “are considered to be ill-conceived for several reasons…”