PRESS RELEASE 10.03.2020
Of the Bulgarian Community for Liberal Democracy (BOLD)
BOLD – a civic initiative of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, together with the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia, organized a panel discussion on:
“Hate Crimes and Hate Speech”
The event will be held at Hotel Central Sofia, Sredets Hall at 52 Hristo Botev Str. On March 20, 2020 from 09:30 to 12:30.
In recent years, Bulgaria has been repeatedly criticized by a number of international human rights bodies and institutions for the widespread and unpunished commission of crimes motivated by prejudice, also known as hate crimes, as well as for the unjustified tolerance of hate speech affecting various vulnerable groups in Bulgarian society.
A number of international treaties, practices and recommendations of international bodies and organizations require states to combat hate speech, in some cases by means of criminal law, as it constitutes an encroachment on human dignity, democratic rule of law and the right to privacy. of the persons affected by it. Some international legal acts even require the criminalization of some of its forms. This struggle generally involves restricting the right to freedom of expression, another fundamental human right that is highly respected in the liberal-democratic community. How to balance these two important interests? This is a question to which the international human rights community, including the European Court of Human Rights, has not yet offered a clear answer.
Law enforcement issues reflect on the media environment, which, free from the threat of sanctions and restrictions, often provides a platform for messages inciting hatred, discrimination and violence on various grounds. Such a social environment severely limits the ability of liberal civil society to resist prejudice and incitement. Moreover, its representatives are often insulted and stigmatized, and in some cases even subjected to unpunished physical aggression.
BOLD members are preparing a position on the topic of “Hate speech” in the platform for discussions and decision-making, which will be published publicly soon.
9:30 – Registration with coffee and Voyvodinovo 360 VR
10:00 – 10:20 Dr. Dimitrina Petrova, Chair of the Initiative Committee, BOLD and moderator of the event – Opening and introductory words
10:20 – 10:40 Dr. Krassimir Kanev, Chairman of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee – “Hate Speech”
10:40 – 11:00 Uranija Pirovska, Chair of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia – “National Mechanisms for the Prevention of Hate Speech and Review of Hate Crimes in Macedonia”
11:00 – 11:20 Boyan Zahariev, Director of the Program Management and Public Policies at the Open Society Institute – “Hate Infection – Studies on the Spread of Hate Speech in Bulgaria”
11:20 – 11:40 Aleksandar Govanoski, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia – “Results of the National Monitoring of Hate Speech on Social Media”
11:40 – 12:00 Milena Dimitrova, journalist, civil activist – “Publicity and transparency vs. hatred”
12:00 – 12:30 Questions and answers, discussion with the audience. Closing.