UN Chief Urges Governments To Censor ‘Hate Speech’

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on governments worldwide to eliminate online “hate speech,” urging strict measures against content deemed offensive. In a statement marking the June 18 “Day for Countering Hate Speech,” Guterres emphasized that countries must act to curb incitement to hatred, particularly on digital platforms — meaning they want mass censorship.

Guterres did not specify what constitutes “hate speech,” but he linked it to severe societal issues, stating, “Hate speech is a marker of discrimination, abuse, violence, conflict and even crimes against humanity.” He cited historical atrocities like those in Nazi Germany and Rwanda to underline the urgency of combating hate speech.

The UN chief expressed concern over the rapid spread of hateful content through digital platforms, highlighting the need for a global response. He proposed that minority communities and LGBTQ+ youth could play a significant role in addressing the issue. Additionally, Guterres announced that the UN is developing “Global Principles for Information Integrity” to guide policymakers in tackling hate speech.

While acknowledging the importance of free speech, Guterres argued that international law obliges states to prevent incitement to hatred and to foster diversity and understanding. “Governments, local authorities, religious, corporate and community leaders have a duty to invest in measures to promote tolerance, diversity and inclusivity, and to challenge hate speech in all its forms,” he said.

However, the UN’s stance on hate speech has been criticized for its perceived hypocrisy, particularly regarding anti-Semitism. Recently, the UN was accused of bias after blacklisting the Israel Defense Forces, using data from Hamas. Additionally, Israel’s Defense Minister accused UN employees of involvement in the Hamas October 7 attack on Israelis, further questioning the UN’s impartiality in defining and addressing hate speech.

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