Parmar, Molnar Speak in Warsaw on Incitement in International Law

October 8, 2013

Two CEU academics convened a side event on the subject of incitement in international law at the 2013 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Human Dimension Implementation Meeting held in Warsaw on Sept. 24. CEU’s Sejal Parmar, assistant professor in the Department of Legal Studies, and Peter Molnar, research fellow in the Center for Media and Communication Studies, organized a panel discussion moderated by Andrei Rikhter, director of the Office of the OSCE Special Representative on Freedom of the Media. Parmar and Molnar made presentations along with co-panelist Alexander Verkhovsky, director of the prominent Moscow-based Centre for Information and Analysis.

Parmar explored the legal and non-legal policy implications of the Rabat Plan of Action, a February 2013 initiative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the prohibition of advocating hatred on the basis of national, racial, or religious identity that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence. Parmar asserted that the Rabat Plan deserves to be taken seriously by states, the news media, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society because the OHCHR workshops that led to its development and adoption were highly participatory.

Molnar is encouraged by the fact that the Rabat Plan of Action focuses on the context of incitement to hatred. He also stressed what he calls the paradox of content-based regulation of “hate speech”: that the more a society is full of prejudices and would seem to need such regulation, the less is the chance to have such subjective regulation applied fairly instead of being abused against the very minorities that are already discriminated against.