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Irish Feminist group says EU hate speech plan threatens freedom of expression

Women’s Space Ireland (WSI), a feminist group which campaigns for women’s sex-based rights, has said that the European Commission’s plan to make hate speech and hate crime EU crimes threatens freedom of expression.

The group has said that “we strongly object to this extension of power over speech and serious inroads into freedom of expression”, adding that the Commission was planning to criminalise speech “without adequate demonstration of the need.”

The group is particularly concerned with the short, only eight weeks long, consultation undertaken by the EU. They say that, up to a week ago, only eight pieces of feedback had been provided, and that this shows that most people were totally unaware of the existence of the consultation.

WSI are also concerned that the plan will include “gender identity” as a protected characteristic, and that such a move “risks adversely affecting women’s rights to freedom of expression.” Gender identity, the groups say, is “a self-held belief” whilst sex is “biological and real.”

The new Hate Crime Bill, the general scheme of which was released by Minister McEntee late last week, took this route. The document contains not a single mention of “sex”, instead using “gender identity” throughout.

The group is calling on members of the public to make their concerns with the plan known by submitting a message to the public consultation currently being undertaken by the EU. That consultation, which can be accessed HERE, closes tomorrow, the 20th.

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