No universally accepted denition o the term “hate speech”exists, despite its requent usage. Tough most States haveadopted legislation banning expressions amounting to “hatespeech”, denitions difer slightly when determining whatis being banned. Only the Council o Europe’s Committeeo Ministers” Recommendation 97(20) on “hate speech”dened it as ollows: “the term “hate speech” shall be un-derstood as covering all orms o expression which spread,incite, promote or justiy racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other orms o hatred based on intolerance,including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalismand ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against mi-norities, migrants and people o immigrant origin.” In thissense, “hate speech” covers comments which are necessarilydirected against a person or a particular group o persons.Te term is also ound in European case-law, although theCourt has never given a precise denition o it. Te Courtsimply reers in some o its judgments to “all orms o expression which spread, incite, promote or justiy hatredbased on intolerance (including religious intolerance).”
Itis important to note that this is an «autonomous» concept,insoar as the Court does not consider itsel bound by thedomestic courts” classication. As a result, it sometimesrebuts classications adopted by national courts
or, on thecontrary, classies certain statements as “hate speech”, evenwhen domestic courts ruled out this classication.
Te concept o “hate speech” encompasses a multiplicity o situations:
Gündüz v. Turkey
, op. cit, para. 40;
Erbakan v. Turkey
, op. cit.,para. 56.6 See, or example,
Gündüz v. Turkey
: unlike the domestic courts,which classied the applicant’s statements as hate speech, theCourt is o the opinion that the statements made cannot be re-garded as such (op. cit., para. 43).7 See to that efect,
Sürek v. Turkey
[GC], No. 26682/95, ECHR1999-IV: the Court concluded in this instance that there had beenhate speech, whereas the applicant had not been convicted o incitement to hatred but o separatist propaganda, since the do-mestic courts considered that there were no grounds or convict-ing him o incitement to hatred.