The effects of civil hate speech laws: lessons from Australia

Gelber, Katharine and McNamara, Luke (2015) The effects of civil hate speech laws: lessons from Australia. Law and Society Review, 49 3: 631-664. doi:10.1111/lasr.12152

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Author Gelber, Katharine
McNamara, Luke
Title The effects of civil hate speech laws: lessons from Australia
Journal name Law and Society Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1540-5893
Publication date 2015-09-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/lasr.12152
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 49
Issue 3
Start page 631
End page 664
Total pages 34
Place of publication Malden, MA United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract This article examines the effects of hate speech laws in Australia. Triangulating data from primary and secondary sources, we examine five hypothesized effects: whether the laws provide a remedy to targets of hate speech, encourage more respectful speech, have an educative or symbolic effect, have a chilling effect, or create “martyrs.” We find the laws provide a limited remedy in the complaints mechanisms, provide a framework for direct community advocacy, and that knowledge of the laws exists in public discourse. However, the complaints mechanism imposes a significant enforcement burden on targeted communities, who still regularly experience hate speech. We find a reduction in the expression of prejudice in mediated outlets, but not on the street. We find no evidence of a chilling effect and we find the risk of free speech martyrs to be marginal. We draw out the implications of these findings for other countries.
Keyword Free speech
Hate speech
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 31 Jul 2015, 10:22:30 EST by Dr Katharine Gelber on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies