THE ESSENTIALS OF HATE SPEECH
In times of huge political, social, economic and religious turmoil, the world increasingly witnesses a rise in language usage for the purposes of humiliating, dehumanizing and defaming non-likeminded individuals or groups of individuals. The distinguishing feature of this inflammatory rhetoric, also widely known as hate speech, seems to be its ability to spread with the speed of light, infecting societies with intolerance, hatred and aggressive behavior, which, in turn, very often translates into personal tragedies and mass atrocities. Social media like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and many others, definitely play a critical role in disseminating hate speech. The platforms that they provide for their users worldwide are utilized by various parties ranging from high-ranking individuals (e.g. politicians, government officials, journalists, distinguished public figures), to ordinary people from all walks of life, who in their urge to voice their dissent, resort to launching vicious, “virtual” attacks at their opponents.
Given the “power” of hate speech and its potentially far-reaching repercussions, the aim of this paper is to approach and shed light on some of the essentials at the core of this phenomenon. In fact, the aim of the paper is to provide insights into the scope of hate speech and its realizations; the context and participants in hate speech, then, the role of social media in disseminating hate speech, and the actual legislative which regulates hate speech. All these aspects are instantiated and looked at through the prism of the latest political and social developments in our own homeland, the Republic of Macedonia.
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