Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pašalić, stated that determining individual responsibility for spreading hate speech and for posting threats and insults on the Internet, as an adequate sanction for such behavior, should be part of the systemic fight against these negative phenomena in our society.
"Every day, in public space, especially on social networks, we witness verbal attacks, aggression, intolerance, and insults. Because of that, and above all because of the protection of journalists from threats and attacks, several months ago I proposed amendments to the Law on Public Order and Peace, which would punish threats and insults on social networks as a misdemeanor," Pašalić said.
The misdemeanor procedure in cases of spreading hate speech, threats, and verbal attacks on social networks would, as I proposed, be initiated in a short period, and the sentence would be executed immediately after the verdict was pronounced, Pašalić emphasized.
"The Law on Prohibition of Discrimination prohibits the expression of ideas, information, and opinions that incite hatred and violence in public media and places accessible to the public, based on the individual's personal traits. The proposed amendments to the Law on Public Order and Peace would sanction attacks, insults, and violence on social networks on any grounds, including hate speech. In this way, the fight against hate speech would be made more efficient", said Pašalić.
The Protector of Citizens reiterated that the changes he proposed refer to the definition of offenses committed against people who perform journalistic work, and the sanctioning of illegal behavior towards other citizens on social networks.
Pašalić added that by introducing misdemeanor sanctions for unacceptable behavior on social networks, Serbia would become one of the European countries that in recent years have introduced penalties for spreading hate speech on the Internet with special laws or amendments to the existing ones.
The Protector of Citizens attended the presentation of the joint campaign of the European Union and the Council of Europe entitled "Block the hatred. Share the love!” on Thursday in Belgrade.