From February 24 to February 27, ‘The Hague Freedom Book Fair 2017’ takes place at the Nutshuis, The Hague, which hosts publishers, writers and speakers from different parts of the world.
The theme of the opening debate is "Freedom of Speech vs. Hate Speech". In this debate we would like to connect the Dutch context to the developments worldwide regarding the question how to protect the space for free expression and combat hate speech at the same time.
"Hate speech" is something very real. In many societies different minority groups have become the target of conscious attacks and threats by media, politicians, religious or civil society leaders, often as a scapegoat for other social and political failures. In some contexts, like Bangladesh, this leads to actual violence and killings of free thinkers, gay rights activists and religious minorities.
However, "hate speech" has also become an excuse for governments and civil society actors to persecute and marginalize dissenting or minority views. In many countries a journalist or academic can be accused of "terrorism" or "hate speech" when he or she is in fact expressing real concern or critical assesments of government policies. The lines between hate speech and freedom of speech often seem blurred. Is is possible to make an objective distinction between the two? Should hate speech be countered and how? How do we protect free speech in the process? Even though there are great differences between the Western societies like the Netherlands and other societies, like Turkey of Bangladesh, some of the major challenges are similar: how do we keep the space free expression open? How can we protect minority voices? How do you limit hate speech? And how can we support tolerance and avoid violence?
Speakers are: Marloes van Noorloos (Assistant Professor Tilburg University), Léon Willems (Director Fre PRess Unlimited), and Paul Cliteur (Professor Philosophy of Law). Moderator: Jakob de Jonge (Director The Hague Peace Projects).
Entrance is free, but registration is required.