Hate speech

Hate speech is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as "public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group based on something such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation".[1] Hate speech is "usually thought to include communications of animosity or disparagement of an individual or a group on account of a group characteristic such as race, colour, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or sexual orientation".[2] A legal definition of hate speech varies from country to country.

There has been much debate over freedom of speech, hate speech and hate speech legislation.[3] The laws of some countries describe hate speech as speech, gestures, conduct, writing, or displays that incite violence or prejudicial actions against a group or individuals on the basis of their membership in the group, or which disparage or intimidate a group or individuals on the basis of their membership in the group. The law may identify a group based on certain characteristics.[4][5][6] In some countries, hate speech is not a legal term.[7] Additionally, in some countries, including the United States, much of what falls under the category of "hate speech" is constitutionally protected.[8][9][10] In other countries, a victim of hate speech may seek redress under civil law, criminal law, or both.