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Strategies to Tackle Racism and Xenophobia on the Internet : Where are We in Europe ?

dimanche 12 janvier 2003 par Isabelle Rorive

"Strategies to Tackle Racism and Xenophobia on the Internet : Where are We in Europe ?", International Journal of Communications Law and Policy , 2002-2003/7.

The paper analyses different attempts to tackle the problem of racist and xenophobic content on the Internet. The question whether internet content should be regulated at all is debatable but if regulation is wanted, such content needs to be criminalized and criminal laws against such content need to be enforced. This task is rendered difficult, as different standards exist in Europe and in the US. While the right to free speech is a qualified right in Europe and while European countries are harmonising their legislation that criminalizes racist and xenophobic content on the internet, such content is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution in the US. Racist and xenophobic websites hosted in the US remain beyond reach for European authorities but can be and are accessed from Europe. As the amount of racist and xenophobic content has increased, different approaches to tackle this problem have emerged. First national anti-racist laws have been applied to the Internet. A second approach is to use international standards to criminalize racist and xenophobic content. A third approach to tackle the problem is to ask intermediaries, i.e. Internet Services Providers, to self-regulate or to co-regulate with public authorities racist and xenophobic content. These approaches are analysed and the author concludes that the co-regulative approach which targets intermediaries provides some relatively effective means to tackle the problem of racist and xenophobic content on the Internet.


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