Book Preview: Hate Speech and Democratic Citizenship

Published: 27 August 2015

Country: UK

Photo_courtesy_Flickr_Jennifer_MooShould hate speech always be punished? Does limiting the freedom of expression to some really guarantee greater freedom for others?

Eric Heinze, Professor of Law and Humanities at Queen Mary, University of London, doesn’t seem to think so and argues his positions on his latest book: Hate Speech and Democratic Citizenship (Oxford University Press). The dominant rationales for current hate speech bans are challenged and deconstructed here in a meticulous and informed effort to defend freedom of expression.

Democracies have better ways of combatting violence and discrimination against vulnerable groups without having to censor speakers, Heinze states. Free expression, the book explains, must be safeguarded not just as an individual right, but as an essential attribute of democratic citizenship.

Eric Heinze, who has previously worked with the International Commission of Jurists and the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, is one of the experts of the Media Diversity Institute (MDI). In years of cooperation, Heinze has worked for the MDI as consultant in issues related with human rights, hate speech and freedom of speech. He is currently is adviser within the “Get the trolls out!”, a recently launched MDI project to combat antisemitic speech in Europe with arts, humour, and fact-based messages.

The book will be available from February 2016 and it aims mainly at academics and scholars in law, politics, philosophy and human rights.