• Legis Scriptor

An Overview about Online Hate Speech

Authored by Sweta Upadhyay

Key Words: Hate speech, I.T, Malicious, Cyber security.


This topic is about the concept of online hate speech and highlights the particular issues. It describes international, regional, and national approaches to Internet hate speech regulation; the article finally reviews different mechanisms for combating hate speech and attempts to answer who is liable for leading the fight.


The internet and social media especially have opened new world to the interaction of individuals and help to communicate one another. Nature of the web platform is to help the direct interaction of individuals from one end of the planet to a different. However, it involves higher risks. One among these risks is the spread of hate speech by the supporters of utmost ideologies, and thus the uncontrolled access by the peoples of all ages. The knowledge Technology is uncontrollable by anybody superpower.

Before discussing about the legislation regarding online hate speech, the first step should be to define the term hate speech. The meaning behind hate speech isn't as self-evident because it could seem. Posting malicious online comments that insult a personal or a group of individuals, which could sound hateful, but it is not the function of hate speech regulations to guard against hurt feelings. Even the Europe Court of Human Rights has recognized the proper of people to “offend, shock or disturb” others.[1]

Definition is that the one outlined within the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation 97(20): the term “hate speech” shall be understood as covering all sorts of expression which spread, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other sorts of hatred supported intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and other people of immigrant origin.”[2]

A History of Hate Speech in India

The right to freedom of speech in India has been enshrined within the Constitution of India. All citizens have the proper to freedom of speech and expression. However, an equivalent Constitution also imposes reasonable restrictions on ground of the proper of the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the safety of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in reference to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence”.[3]

Under Technology Act, 2000., online hate speech was defined as any information sent by means of a computer resource or communication device that's grossly offensive or menacing in character, or any information that the sender knows to be false, but sends anyway with the intent of “causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will”[4]. A private engaging in such activity might be sentenced with imprisonment up to a term of three years, and a fine. The Supreme Court stuck down the section within the land mark judgement Shreya Singhal v. Union of India as unconstitutional on grounds of violating the liberty of speech guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India.

Restriction on Hate Speech

Section 69A of the knowledge Technology Act allows the State to direct “any agency of the government or intermediary” to dam access to any information on any computer resource. For the wants of this act, a “computer resource” has been defined as a “computer, computing system, network, data, electronic database or software”.[5]Essentially, this allows the government almost completely unrestricted powers in blocking and filtering access to any website or computer on the web. Through this provision, “intermediaries”, who are defined as a private who “receives, stores or transmits” an electronic mail on behalf of another person, even have the necessity of complying with the government’s request for blocking or filtering access to any content on any such as computer resource.

Major Problems

1. Free Speech: Under The Constitution Indian, hate speech always carries as a “restriction” to the proper to freedom of speech. This right of citizens is usually, with certain restrictions began by the State for the protection of the country[6]. Under The Constitution of India is extremely broad and has been interlinked with other rights, a bit like the right to equality before law and thus the protection of life and private liberty. Therefore, while the State doesn't have extensive powers to strike into this right, some provisions already exist for the enforcement certain quite restrictions, as the way to protecting India and stopping discrimination within the name of faith, language, gender, etc. These powers must be balanced with the thought of free speech within the online or virtual world.

2. Cyber Security: At the present cyber security is the major concern for Indian system also as legislative. Not only has that Indian needed a strict law for shielding cyber security. India is lacking being within the field of today's virtual word.

Solutions: Article 19(2) means the government has the facility regulate any speech on the web considered as negatively affecting public order, decency or morality, and typically causing enmity or provoking riots between groups on the thought of ethnicity, language, religion, etc. Note that hate speech, defined intrinsically, could even be a significant problem in India.

The more we'll undermine hate speech with loving words, logical arguments, and truth-telling, the more that hate speech will begin to lose its power. Another method which can combat hate speech is education. When it involves bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and hate crimes, the more people are educated on these issues, the more we'll prevent them within the longer term. There is no cure for hate speech, but there's the way to confront against it.

Conclusion: Speech is essentially protected by the proper to freedom of speech and expression. On the opposite hand, same Constitution imposes certain restrictions on the liberty of speech and expression. Users of the web portal would be sensitized to the character of hate speech, and thus the affect it's on people. The vastness of India as a rustic, and thus various cultures, languages and geography makes it very difficult for one a neighborhood of the country to know what may cause hatred or be seen as offensive by another part or group within the country. India needs a strict law for the regulation of online hate speech.


1. “Section66A quashed: Citizens can still be arrested for online posts”;; last accessed October 12, 2015

2. “India is policing the Internet for all the sad and wrong reasons”;; last accessed: October 12, 2015 16 “Supreme Court accepts student's petition challenging Section 66(A)”’; last accessed: October 12, 2015 17“Supreme Court strikes down Section 66A of IT Act”;

3. Court-strikes-down-Section-66A-of-IT-Act-which-allowed-arrests-for-objectionable-content-online/articleshow/46672244.cms; last accessed: October 12, 2015 18 Shreya Singhal vs Union of India; accessible at

Foot notes:

[1]Europe Court of Human Rights judgement Handyside v. The United kingdom (no 5493/72),7.12. 1976,S 49 [2]Council of Europe. Committee of Ministers. Recommendation 97 (20) on “ hate sppech”2006,S 56 [3]Article 19 (2) [4]Section 66A of the I.T Act 2000. [5]Section 2 (1); ibdi at3 [6] Article 14, Indian Constitution.