Friday, March 01, 2013
Canada’s top court upholds "hate speech" ban
But defines hate speech narrowly
Canada’s top court on Wednesday upheld a ban on hate speech contested by a Christian anti-gay activist, but struck down a section of the law also prohibiting belittling or ridiculing others.
The Supreme Court said in its decision that the hate speech ban “is a reasonable limit on freedom of religion and is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”
“The benefits of the suppression of hate speech and its harmful effects outweigh the detrimental effect of restricting expression which, by its nature, does little to promote the values underlying freedom of expression,” it said.
However the court also found that speech which “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of (a person or group) does not rise to the level of ardent and extreme feelings constituting hatred.”