Efforts to legislate the “prevention and criminalization of hate speech” law
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Omar Abdul Latif
The Public Policy Department in the Prime Minister's Office and civil organizations are seeking to prepare a draft law on "prevention and criminalization of hate speech." Experts and specialists have warned that hate speech has reached a dangerous stage, especially on social media.
A member of the House of Representatives, Mahma Khalil, told Al-Sabah: "We are in dire need today to combat hate speech that creates a rift between the components," noting that "this draft law and others can prepare the atmosphere to return Iraq to its normal state, whether at the level of combating corruption." and provision of services.”
He added, "Representatives of minorities in the House of Representatives will demand that the draft law be sent to the House of Representatives, as they are the group that suffers most from hate speech and its growth in society," noting that "the historical and heritage depth of the Iraqi people makes it categorically reject those speeches." The legal expert, Dr. Wael Al-Bayati, said that hate speech has reached a dangerous stage, especially on social media. Al-Bayati added, in an interview with "Al-Sabah", that "the law (prevention and criminalization of hate speech) deals with an important issue, which is prevention that escapes the issue of punishment. criminal judgments and the character of an offender.” He explained, “Hate speeches are often practiced by young people, which sounds a warning that future generations will reflect their behavior on these speeches that turn into violent behavior or discrimination against people on the basis of disagreement with them, and this is what we see sometimes in schools and universities.
Al-Bayati called for "a firm stand in front of such a phenomenon, by working to legislate this law through the first idea, which is prevention, and by developing strategies, treatments and a specific system that starts from schools and kindergartens and how to know the other and deal and coexist with him on the basis that difference is acceptable," explaining. That "that is what we seek, and there should be a regulation of this issue from a legal point of view as it is an utmost necessity." As for the general coordinator of the “Masarat” Foundation, Dr. Saad Salloum, he stated in an interview with “Al-Sabah” that “there is an experience that began in 2016 with the issuance of the (Baghdad Declaration) to combat hate speech in Iraq and the Middle East, which is now one of the regional documents that have Echo and a prominent presence at the regional level, and placed on an equal footing with the (Marrakesh Declaration) for the protection of religious minorities and (Al-Azhar Declaration) for coexistence.
He added, "This declaration included a complete strategy to criminalize hate speech, contain it, monitor it, issue special legislation in this regard, establish a permanent center and change the curricula." Studies on teaching religions, in addition to establishing a permanent center to monitor and contain hate speech, develop a media strategy for minorities, and finally reach a draft law to combat hate speech in partnership and coordination with the Public Policy Department in the Prime Minister's Office.
Salloum stressed that "legislation is a mechanism of social change, and there is a social and political need to justify it in a way that guarantees a balance while preserving the protection of freedom of expression."
Edited by: Muhammad Al-Ansari
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