Thanks for your answer. I can see your point, and there are a few things I’d like to respond to.

First of all, one of the biggest mistakes many people make is thinking that freedom of speech covers everything under the sun. The reality is there are things you can say, well before “hate speech” laws were introduced, that can land you in legal trouble – slander, death/violence threats, etc. If someone suddenly accused you of doing something you hadn’t done, it would be under your legal right to sue them. Yet, under the current pseudo-definition of “free speech” which the alt-right abuses for their benefit, by extension even calumny should be legally protected! Clearly this shows that freedom of speech does not extend to everything one could potentially say.

Leading on from this, the reason why hate speech is currently persecutable (which much of the far-right sees as anti-free speech) is because it is not covered under the freedom of expression. “Free speech”, according to UDHR definition, refers to the freedom to articulate opinions. Hatred and discrimination, including any Fascist “ideology”, is not a genuine opinion, as it is a direct or indirect call for the persecution and/or marginalisation of people and their rights. The ICCPR indeed states that free speech is “subject to certain restrictions”, and these are now often extended to different forms of hate. Opinions which infringe or incite the infringements of others’ rights are never valid, and as such cannot be protected under free speech.

Now to lead on to your point, there are obviously certain legal grey areas and many of those on the alt-right skirt this border.

What my article is arguing is that, when it comes to figures who belong to the hard or far edge of the political right, people whose words veer close to (or sometimes even cross) the border between free and hate speech, we should be very careful about acknowledging or validating these views. When you talk about not mentioning extreme groups in the newspaper you were working for, that’s exactly what I’m proposing unions/companies should do – ignore these figures, and refuse to give them an even bigger platform. The alt-right already has social media and a multitude of channels to spew their trash as they wish (as long as they don’t break the law, of course) – why give them a pedestal and bestow them the privilege of expressing themselves in prestigious academic or mediatic spaces?

23-y/o Britalian, Oxford grad, published poet & singer/songwriter. Feminist, progressive & unafraid to share my views | Bylines: Indy, Metro, The Times, Huffpo

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