Reform Party presents hate speech criminalization bill

Chairman of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas wearing a mask and standing next to a campaign poster on September 25.
Chairman of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas wearing a mask and standing next to a campaign poster on September 25. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Reform Party Riigikogu group has entered into proceedings a bill to criminalize hate speech.

"The government coalition has made inciting hatred against various minorities increasingly commonplace. However, this should not be the case in a state based on the rule of law and incitement of hatred and public calls for violence should be punishable in criminal procedure, even if victims do not immediately follow," Reform chairman and faction head Kaja Kallas said via a press representative.

Kallas said that the Reform Party has introduced draft legislation to criminalize hate speech to create a lever with which to hold those inciting hatred in society accountable.

The chairman pointed to the Estonian Constitution, according to which everyone is equal in the eyes of the law and no one can be discriminated against based on their nationality, race, skin color, gender, language, background, religious beliefs, political or other kind of convictions, also financial and social status or other circumstances. The same section of the Constitution provides that incitement of national, racial, religious or political hatred, violence and discrimination is against the law and punishable. It is also against the law to fuel hatred, violence and discrimination between different social groups.

The bill's explanatory memo reads that racism and xenophobia directly violate the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and freedoms, as well as the tenets of the rule of law.

According to the memorandum, Estonia has as part of the Council of the European Union decided to fight against certain manifestations of racism and xenophobia using the tools of criminal law but has so far failed to honor that pledge and introduced corresponding changes to its Penal Code.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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