UN Secretary-General proposes the shutting down of free speech 'to protect UN values'
In January, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, tasked his Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, to 'present a global plan of action against hate speech and hate crimes on a fast-track basis'.
Speaking at a press conference about the UN's challenges for 2019, Guterres maintained - 'The biggest challenge that governments and institutions face today is to show that we care - and to mobilize solutions that respond to people's fears and anxieties with answers...'
One of those answers, Guterres appeared to suggest, is shutting down free speech.
'We need to enlist every segment of society in the battle for values that our world faces today – and, in particular, to tackle the rise of hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance. Hate speech and hate crimes are direct threats to human rights...'
Guterres added, 'Words are not enough. We need to be effective in both asserting our universal values and in addressing the root causes of fear, mistrust, anxiety and anger. That is the key to bring people along in defence of those values that are under such grave threat today'.
In other words, forget everything about the free exchange of ideas: the UN feels that its 'values' are being threatened and those who criticize those values must therefore be shut down. Not only that, but -- disingenuously -- the UN is comparing dissent from its agendas with the rise of fascism and Nazism in the 1930s.
Now the action plan that Guterres spoke of in January is ready.
On June 18, Guterres presented the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech:
Naturally, he assured everyone that, 'Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech. It means keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, which is prohibited under international law'.
Except the UN most definitely seeks to limit freedom of speech, especially the kind that challenges the UN's agendas.
This was evident with regard to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in which it was explicitly stated that public funding to 'media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants' should be stopped.
Whatever constitutes intolerance, xenophobia, racism or discrimination was naturally left undefined, making the provision a convenient catchall for governments who wish to defund media that dissent from current political orthodoxy on migration.
In contrast to the UN Global Migration compact, the UN's action plan against hate speech does contain a definition of what the UN considers to be 'hate' and it happens to be the broadest and vaguest of definitions possible:
'Any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor'.
With a definition as broad as this, all speech could be labelled 'hate'.