“It’s time to have a conversation about our hate speech laws”

Green MP Golriz Gharahman has been busy on Twitter encouraging “a conversation about our hate speech laws”.

She has first hand knowledge of hate speech, having been on the receiving end of awful attacks online.

This has also been promoted by the Green Party.

We now know that hate speech allowed to grow and be amplified online is undermining democracy around the world.

In New Zealand we know that it can be fatal.

The Bill of Rights Act protects free speech, but it’s balance against all our other rights. Our laws already protect individuals against harmful speech. You can’t threaten people. You can’t harm their reputation.

This isn’t really very accurate. The current laws don’t protect us, they give us some means of doing something about being threatened or having our reputations being harmed, but these means are usually far too slow and too inexpensive.

The police will only act on alleged threats if they thing there is a risk of serious harm.

Defamation proceedings are lengthy (Blomfield v Slater has taken six years so far to find that later had no defence, but damages are unlikely to be determined for another year or so) and very expensive. Most people can’t afford to protect their reputations via our current laws.

If defamation against individuals is already illegal, why should people be allowed to harm minority groups.

Including major minority groups?

What constitutes ‘harm’ is contentious and difficult to define. It can range from perceived hard feelings to escalation to actual physical harm.

Most new Zealanders would be shocked to find that our hate speech laws don’t cover religious minorities. They don’t cover gender, the Rainbow community, or the disabilities community.

All religions are minorities. There re no single ‘communities’ of Rainbow or for people with disabilities.

We need to change that.

We must make New Zealand the kind of place where we all feel truly safe and at home.

We certainly should work to change things for the better when it comes to speech.

But is it possible for everyone to feel ‘truly safe’ from hurt, while also feel truly safe to openly say what we think?

From follow up tweets:

You definitely shouldn’t be allowed to spread hate against a protected group based on your religion. Having well defined hate speech laws that assert equal protection for everyone’s rights and safety would do just that.

Deciding on “well defined hate speech laws that assert equal protection for everyone’s rights and safety” will be very challenging. And equal protection means there should not be specified ‘protected groups’.

It’s frightening that LGBTQIA communities aren’t protected against hate speech in NZ given the very real violence that translates to. Why is it unlawful to speak harmful mistruths about an individual and not a group?! Definitely time to realise we’re behind on this one.

Violent and intolerant language can contribute to actual physical violence – but a lot of harm can be done just with words.

A lot more tolerance of minority races, ethnicities, nationalities, political preferences, religions, gender and sexual preferences would be a major step forward.

But alongside this there must be some tolerance of speech that some people may feel uncomfortable with or offended by – it is common to hear people saying they hate opinions that differ from their own.

We need to have more than just conversations about how we address harmful speech, we need to have a robust debate about the balance between potentially harmful speech, and the freedom to speak in a normal and socially acceptable way.

Leave a comment

30 Comments

  1. Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  6th April 2019

      Where does this idiot think Tarrant engaged with hate speech that NZ law should and could have prevented?

      No evidence provided for her claims.

      Reply
      • I don’t think that linking ‘hate speech’ discussions to the Christchurch massacres is helpful. But somehow I think we have to find ways of engaging with the likes of Ghahraman on speech laws.

        Reply
    • Ray

       /  6th April 2019

      I don’t think having Golriz front this is a good call. Yes she has may have been on the receiving end of hate speech but she has by her own words been pilloried for a series of “mis truths “. Proven lies.
      Next thing calling Andrew Little a “union tool” will be declared hate speech but the usual suspects will have free run on their favourite renegades, old,male, and stale or “right wing” or both.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  6th April 2019

        I agree with you about Golriz.

        Calling National pollies ‘tools of the uber rich’….hate speech…maybe ..not.

        Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  6th April 2019

      Beautiful words, from the Australian

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  6th April 2019

        She has been exposed as having lied about so many things that I tend to doubt her word.

        If she had had real threats online, why didn’t she do anything about it ? I have never heard that she has, and the supposed threats were the kind that someone would be justified in reporting to the police.

        Her attention-seeking, even after the mosque murders, is decidedly distasteful and immature.

        Reply
  2. sorethumb

     /  6th April 2019

    This is all a load’a
    They are trying to delegitimize opinion:

    National Front: “this is what you get when you have too many migrants”
    Dominion Movement. “European culture is New zealand’s founding culture”

    two examples cited as to why websites were taken down.

    Winston Peters: islam has a radical strand.

    Reply
    • Dominion Movement. “European culture is New zealand’s founding culture”

      That’s obviously false. Maori culture preceded ‘European culture’ (as varied as that is) by hundreds of years.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  6th April 2019

        WP seems not to know that all religions have a radical strand.

        Reply
  3. Gezza

     /  6th April 2019

    Very amusing first frame in that video of Golriz.

    Reply
  4. Corky

     /  6th April 2019

    “It’s time to have a conversation about our hate speech laws”

    If we have free speech then why do we need hate speech laws? It’s because we don’t have free speech.

    So our semi free speech rights are further demarcated into ”acceptable and non acceptable semi free speech rights ” And once again we go round and round the mulberry bush.

    I don’t mind playing this unwinnable fiasco…but please don’t use free speech in the same breath.

    Let’s ramp up our judicial system to deal quickly with people who have been genuinely defamed or lied about…and get on with real free speech.

    Reply
  5. sorethumb

     /  6th April 2019

    Can you imagine if someone from NZ First was as outspoken as [deleted, use proper names] (assuming NZ First stood for something)?

    Reply
  6. sorethumb

     /  6th April 2019

    jh34
    Leighton Smith said the library (or libraries), had a waiting list of 500 for Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. The Left (on the other hand) is eating itself . When you haven’t got a counter argument you disrupt.

    Isnt there a white supremacy rally you should be attending right now or do they not work on saturday?
    Quote
    eddiedean1 (74 ) 12:47 pm, Sat 7 Jul #35

    jh34 wrote: 
    Straw man fallacy. 
    https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFalla
    cies/169/Strawman-Fallacy

    Na your posts are very racially based and incendiary. Calling you out for what you are is not a straw man. It is very to the point. But using a straw man to a non straw is pretty good. Obviously the KKK is trying new methods these days. Did breitbart kick you out? Would have thought you would be much more at home with those guys
    Quote
    eddiedean1 (74 ) 12:52 pm, Sat 7 Jul #43

    [jh34 wrote: 
    For example?]

    everything you have ever posted. All your threads with far right racist links. All of your support for racist speakers and your nasty attacks of people with a skin colour that isnt white. Christchurch not racist enough for ya that ya have to post alt right racist stuff on TM all day. maybe texas is what you need?
    Quote
    eddiedean1 (74 ) 12:58 pm, Sat 7 Jul #51

    [eddiedean1 wrote: 
    everything you have ever posted. All your threads with far right racist links. All of your support for racist speakers and your nasty attacks of people with a skin colour that isnt white. Christchurch not racist enough for ya that ya have to post alt right racist stuff on TM all day. maybe texas is what you need?]

    Lots and lots of examples there but could you be more specific? The topic is hate speech (after all)?
    Edited by jh34 at 1:16 pm, Sat 7 Jul

    [jh34 wrote: 
    Lots and lots of example there but could you be more specific?]

    Well done. that was your first post under 400000 words with no links. I’m making your certificate as we speak. Do you want dried macaroni on it or glitter?
    Quote
    eddiedean1 (74 ) 1:16 pm, Sat 7 Jul #70

    Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  6th April 2019

      Trade Me Disputes (Trust and Safety)

      Apr 5, 13:43 NZDT

      Hi John,

      Our message boards aren’t governed by Common law or by democracy. Your suspension was the result of repeatedly creating threads around contentious topics, which is against our message board policy.

      Reply
  7. Gezza

     /  6th April 2019

    I caught the tail end of a doco on the rising, vocal, threatening, abusive, “far right” movement in Hungary where some marches & rallies & scenes of them barricaded off from a local version of a Pride parade was taking place, close-cropped hair cuts, all dressed in black uniforms, & hurling the most vile abuse & threats & wishes for their demise. “Faggots” & that they were all denying women natural partners & fathers of children were the least offensive things said.

    One of them, a big, tall bloke, muscled up & built like a brick shithouse, interviewed, & videoed returning to the block of flats where he had to sell his apartment when the government’s economic policies left him jobless & unable to meet mortgage payments, & talking to some mainly middle-aged & older women who lived there now, chatting, in a nearby gathering place, openly blamed the Jews for it all.

    Another, right at the end, was a smaller sort of chap. I didn’t see what had to say in earlier parts of the doco, but his final contribution was: “I’m just an ordinary guy. I love my country. I love my religion, and I love my race. I’m just an ordinary, 18 year old guy.”

    I might find it online & watch it again sometime, to get a fuller picture. But it strikes me that labellng these people, who seem to be a mix of nationalist, racists, displaced workers, socialists, fascists, white supremacists, “far right” or “white supremacists” or neo-nazis, may not really be all that helpful or accurate, because the people they hate aren’t necessarily all the same, but abiding hatreds for various others are what binds them together.

    Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  6th April 2019

      but abiding hatreds for various others are what binds them together.
      ………..
      What makes you assume that a positive attraction for society pre 1986 implies negativity towards outsiders – other than that they disrupt the status -quo?

      the prevailing approach to the study of ethnocentrism, ingroup bias, and prejudice presumes that ingroup love and outgroup hate are reciprocally related. Findings from both cross-cultural research and laboratory experiments support the alternative view that ingroup identification is independent of negative attitudes toward outgoups and that much ingroup bias and intergroup discrimination is motivated by preferential treatment of ingroup members rather than direct hostility toward outgroup members.

      http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.197.4614&rep=rep1&type=pdf

      Reply
      • sorethumb

         /  6th April 2019

        I think we are getting to the heart of the matter, that the universal nation has never existed before and is not a natural way to organise a macro society.

        You have to ask what binds society together be it family, tribe or nation and what happens when groups feel marginalised?

        Take the universalist Sam Neil who argues for a religious hub in Cathedral Square. He travels first class and is the talk of the town.How does your average white or Maori pleb feel when Jacinda says: “they are us”?

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  6th April 2019

        What makes you assume that a positive attraction for society pre 1986 implies negativity towards outsiders

        Observation & a lifelong interest in World history.

        Reply
        • sorethumb

           /  6th April 2019

          History is now and we are seeing a backlash from white majorities against multiculturalism. The newsmedia don’t reflect this.

          Reply
          • Have you got any evidence of a ‘white majority’ backlash? from what I’ve seen in New Zealand there’s a small minority making a big noise against so called multiculturalism. Some fringe media like Whale Oil reflect the views some people, but there’s a reason why the mainstream media don’t – they aren’t mainstream views.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  6th April 2019

              I don’t believe that there is an average person in any race or class.

              Nor do I believe in a white majority backlash. I haven’t seen one, anyway,

  8. sorethumb

     /  6th April 2019

    The cofuffle about hate speech is really about shutting down dissent. They are out-gunned by the rebels. One of the most damning statements against multicultural society comes from sociobiology and it is this:

    Ethnocentrism is not a White disorder and evidence is emerging that immigrant communities harbour invidious attitude towards Anglo Australians, disparaging their culture and the legitimacy of their central place in national identity.[xxiii]

    https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2010/06/the-misguided-advocates-of-open-borders/

    Also the bond with Australia is cooling thanks to Chinese and indian immigration and yet multiculturalism in Australia was started by a group of privileged do-gooders. The sort who would be the last to be able to take their skills across the oceans.

    Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  6th April 2019

      The sort who would be the last to not be able to take their skills across the oceans

      Reply
    • “The cofuffle about hate speech is really about shutting down dissent. ”

      I’ve seen that claimed in various places, but without credible evidence it tends towards a conspiracy sort of thing. When the UN plot claim is added as it often has been it becomes a nutty conspiracy theory.

      Reply
      • sorethumb

         /  6th April 2019

        Until we know via example what constitutes hate speech it is up in the air.*Example* is the elephant in the room.

        Reply
        • sorethumb

           /  6th April 2019

          The current approach to hate speech is cover, label, flush.

          [I’m putting you on auto-moderation for the day. The way you’ve been going you need monitoring and I don’t have time to do that all day. PG]

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  6th April 2019

            I don’t believe that the kerfuffle is about closing down dissent; it’s about closing the extremists whose idea of free speech is vilification and threats. We live in a democracy, not Stalin’s Russia.

            Reply
  9. Marc Sparks

     /  6th April 2019

    Perhaps Golriz Gharahman can purge her own party of racism first, start with herself and Davidson.

    Reply

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