Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Regulation of "Low-Level" Racist Speech in Commonwealth Countries

Dilan Thampapillai, Victoria University Faculty of Business and Law, has published "Cronullified: Can the Commonwealth Regulate Low Level Racist Speech?" Here is the abstract.
Political commentary on race, multiculturalism and national identity can be very controversial because it often appears to demarcate a line between those Australians who are ethnic and cultural insiders and those who are outsiders. This type of speech can venture into the territory of being low level racial vilification speech. That is, speech that contains overtones that are hostile or contemptuous towards a particular racial group but which does not overtly espouse hatred. Low level racial vilification speech serves to exclude others from being truly equal within the community. Yet it does not appear to be effectively regulated under the Racial Discrimination Act. However, this type of speech deserves some form of public censure. In this article I analyse low level racial vilification speech in the context of political speech. I consider whether it is possible to implement a policy scheme where speech with racist overtones, as opposed to hate speech, can be subjected to some form of official censure whilst, in the interests of not unduly restraining political speech, not being prevented from being published or disseminated.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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