EFHR still fights hate speech in the Internet
The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) has received information about one more criminal order being issued for the author of an offensive comment, based on the Foundation’s applications directed to the General Prosecutor’s Office.
The court of the Skuodo district (Skuodo rajono apylinkės teismas) has issued the third criminal order for A.V. for public inciting of racial hatred and national discrimination, humiliating the Polish minority.
On June 13th, 2012 on the www.facebook.com social service on the www.sportas.lt website, A.V. published a comment to the article „Polscy chuligani pobili kibiców rosyjskiej drużyny piłki nożnej” (“Polish hooligans beat supporters of Russian football team”. The content of the comment was as follows: „rusai dabar vapse užlenks tuos lenkus po sto nx krw tegul isnakin8a tuos krw nekenciu as ju“. For writing it, the author was punished with a 1040 Lt fine.
The author of the comment claimed that visiting a friend in Ireland he wrote a comment, the content of which he does not remember. Writing the comment, he did not intend to incite violence or repression against Poles, he did not want to offend or rather discriminate people of Polish origin. Without thinking, he expressed his opinion although he did not mean to do something bad. In the decision, the Court has taken into consideration A.V.’s young age, his social maturity and other factors that are significant in the process of deciding about a punishment for a guilty person. The person pleaded guilty, testified during the investigation and he honestly regrets his behaviour.
The truth is that in the expertise an expert from the Inspection of Journalistic Ethics decided that the comment does not incite violence or discrimination against Poles. However, the court has decided that the EFHR was rights and that the aim of the author was public offence against the Polish minority and inciting hatred and discrimination based on nationality.
In total, there have been 16 penalties for comments, based on EFHR’s applications (the Foundation has sent over 350 applications so far) directed to the public prosecutor’s office as elements of the campaign, which has lasted for a year now, aiming at terminating the feeling of impunity of all those, who violate other people’s dignity without any constraint.
By directing applications against entries that violate the law to enforcement agencies, the Foundation would like to create a situation in which national agencies, responsible for observance of the law, would notice the seriousness of the circumstance and the threat associated with it. The state cannot idly look at the wave of hatred that grows on an unprecedented scale.
Effects of our work are appreciated by prosecutors general themselves. EFHR is the most active Foundation in Lithuania, pursuing comments that violate the law: www.efhr.eu/download/media_www/neapykanta-kurstantys-komentatoriu-2012.12.28.pdf
The Foundation would like to cordially thank all the people who send us information on unlawful entries. Without your help, the success would not be possible. We encourage you to further cooperation.