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Intervention of Greece to the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues (28th HRC , 18.3.2015)

Thursday, 19 March 2015


MS ISMINI PANAGOPOULOU


Thank you Mr President,

We align ourselves with the statement delivered by the European Union.

Greece congratulates Ms Iszak on her work and takes note of her latest report focused on "hate speech and incitement to hatred against minorities in the media", which attaches great importance to the adoption of domestic legislation on this issue. In this context, we would like to make special reference to the new anti-racist law in our country which imposes imprisonments and fines against public incitement to violence or hatred    targeting  individuals or groups of individuals defined by reference inter alia to race, colour, religion, descent, national or ethnic origin also by the press or through the Internet.Our National Council for  Radio and Television imposes administrative sanctions inter alia in the case the acts punishable under the aforementioned law have been committed  in a context of radio or television broadcast.

Furthermore, in the field of addressing hate speech online, a special law-drafting Committee has been set up in the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights with the mandate to update the draft law on the ratification of the Convention of the Council of Europe on Cybercrime and of the Additional Protocol thereof on the criminalization of racist and xenophobic actions. Also, in line with the good practices identified by your report, our Ombudsman has  made concrete proposals to our  national council for radio and television on the prevention and control of incidents of unethical conduct on behalf of the media and on holding  relevant training of journalists. We would be grateful if the Special Rapporteur can give us more expert guidance and examples of best practices in tackling hate speech online and in the social media in particular.

But as far as examples are concerned, we would like to express our surprise that in the relevant examples' section of the SR's report, there is an unbalanced presentation of such cases. We believe that aggravated cases such as the massive pro-nazi propaganda, the use of social media by ISIL or the media's role during the  Rwandan genocide cannot be in the same chapter as other country cases with a much more limited impact. We therefore suggest a classification of such examples by order of gravity and clear separation from cases where such incitement is associated with crimes against humanity in future reports.

Furthermore, we agree on the SR's recommendation to publicly condemn acts of incitement to hatred by political actors as an effective tool for their elimination which is a well established practice in our country, whenever these acts occur.

Finally, we wish the SR success in her mission and reaffirm our willingness to assist her in the implementation of her mandate.


Thank you Mr President

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