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Eyeing global 'groundswell' of hate speech, UN launches action plan to combat

File photo: Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 19, 2019, 07.47 AM (IST)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday launched an action plan to curb rising hate speech in the world arena and warned that the world is in danger of forgetting the impact of hate speech.

He blamed the leaders of democracies as well as dictatorships for fueling the spread of hate speech around the world.

"In both liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes, some political leaders are bringing the hate-fuelled ideas and language of these groups into the mainstream, normalizing them, coarsening the public discourse and weakening the social fabric," he said.

The UN chief said that while hate speech has been around for a long time, it is now amplified by social media.

"Around the world, we see a groundswell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance, violent misogyny, and also anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred," said Guterres.

Launching a Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech at the UN, he declared: "Hate speech may have gained a foothold. But it is now on notice, and we will never stop confronting it." 

"Hateful and destructive views are enabled and amplified exponentially through digital technology, often targeting women, minorities, and the most vulnerable. Extremists gather online and radicalise new recruits," he said. 

According to the Secretary-General, the new strategy would take aim at the root causes of hate speech — which includes "violence, marginalization, discrimination, poverty, exclusion, inequality, lack of basic education, and weak state institutions".

(With inputs from agencies)