Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Study Explores How Different Cultures Deal With Hate Speech



A recent study sponsored by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), of the Washington DC-based think tank the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), explores how different cultures define and interpret freedom of expression. ‘A Clash of Cultures: Hate Speech, Taboos, Blasphemy, and the Role of News Media’ examines the fine line between what speech is proscribed and what is accepted in the digital media of different cultures.

“Among the questions being raised: When virtually anyone, anywhere–often anonymously–can create digital content that exacerbates tensions or is potentially insulting to racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual groups, should such content be banned? Does the right to free speech outweigh a group’s right to freedom from insult, defamation, or religious blasphemy? If not, where does the line get drawn–and by whom? Local governments?  The aggrieved parties? The United Nations or some other international governing body? Or will tech giants such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook essentially become the arbiters of permissible speech around the globe?” asks author of the study Jane Sasseen.

Jane Sasseen is a freelance editorial consultant who has worked with a number of major non-profit and media organizations in recent years. She has written extensively on the media being  editor and co-author of several chapters of  The State of the News Media 2012, the annual report on American journalism produced by The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. She previously worked for Yahoo! News and the Business Week.

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