Data Fidelity

Ireland’s plan to criminalize “hate speech” takes a “guilty until proven innocent” approach

Ireland is closer to being the latest country to pass legislation on so-called “hate speech.”

The Lower House (Dáil Éireann) passed the Criminal Justice Bill 2022 (the Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offenses), which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

The bill makes it a crime to “incite violence or hatred against a person, condonation, denial or gross trivialization of genocide, and preparing or possessing material likely to incite violence or hatred against persons on account of their protected characteristics.”

Protected characteristics include race, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and disability.

The bill has a controversial provision that makes it an offense to “possess material that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person or group.”

We obtained a copy of the bill for you here.

It adds that someone violates the law if they “displays, publishes, distributes, disseminates, shows or plays the material,” or “makes the material available in any other way including the use of an information system” like social media.

Possessing such material carries a two-year prison sentence. More concerning is that the burden of proof lies on the person accused (they have to prove that their intention was not to spread hate), rather than the age-old idea of the burden being on the prosecution to prove their case. The government’s proposal is the opposite of this: guilty until proven innocent.

The House voted against an amendment to remove the part of the bill that makes it an offense to possess offensive material.

Responding to news of the bill, Elon Musk tweeted: “This is a massive attack against freedom of speech.”

The bill is headed for the upper house (Seanad Éireann), which will be the seventh stage of 11 before it becomes law.

If you’re tired of censorship, cancel culture, and the erosion of civil liberties subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

The post Ireland’s plan to criminalize “hate speech” takes a “guilty until proven innocent” approach appeared first on Reclaim The Net.

More In Technology News

Contact Data Fidelity

Send us a quick message, and we will endeavour to contact you as soon as possible. 

Alternatively, feel free to use our complimentary Quote Tool service to find our how much a new website will cost you today.

Contact Us

Take control of the internet

Download a FREE copy of our E-book, covering:

  • Origins of the internet, CERN & The GNU Philosophy
  • Misconceptions around the internet & its best practices
  • Database Architecture & Design
  • Exiting Big Tech
Book Subscription
Skip to content