When Hate Speech and Free Speech Collide
This week the line between free speech and hate speech was thrust to the fore when the University of California at Berkeley cancelled a speech by the ultra-right movement’s Milo Yiannopoulos, editor of Breitbart News. Scheduled to speak at campus, Yiannopoulos’ speech was cancelled after protests and concerns that police could not guarantee security at the event.
Protestors gathered with signs stating that ‘Hate Speech is not Free Speech’ in response to Yiannopoulos, whose comments have been criticised as racist, misogynist, and anti- Muslim.
U.S. President Trump waded unto the debate with a tweet “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”
Hate speech and free speech have an uneasy relationship. Last week, New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy was reported as asking for police to ‘record hate crime statistics to combat racism’.