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Appeal of KRASP Executive Committee to oppose hate speech | University of Gdańsk | Uniwersytet Gdański

Appeal of KRASP Executive Committee to oppose hate speech

Appeal of 15 October 2015 by the Executive Committee of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (KRASP) to oppose hate speech, unanimously endorsed by the KRASP Plenary Assembly on 16 October 2015.

   Warsaw,15.10.2015

Appeal of KRASP Executive Committee to oppose hate speech

In light of the great number of recent irresponsible and unacceptable statements by persons involved in public debate, KRASP would like to appeal to all participants in the debate to prevent and oppose hate speech in as firm a manner as possible. Statements which influence the shaping of social attitudes and the upbringing of a new generation must remain free of language marked by hostility, aggression or contempt.

The recently observed hate speech is astounding in the scale and intensity of its extremely negative emotions. Voices which propagate intolerance and contemptuous rhetoric based on hostility, xenophobia, insinuation, offensive comparison or imputation, while lacking argumentation or objective evidence, must be silenced. 

Regrettably, it is these very voices which, with increasing frequency, are replacing the objective argumentation and discussion which is so vital in the public sphere, and causing verbal hate to be shifted into the social dimension with the potential to become fact. In discussions and media coverage, such content also usurps valuable, substantive, decent, positive and balanced statements which neither appear so ‘attractive’ nor meet with such ‘resonance’.

In relation to the use of hate speech, we also wish to appeal to the media not to follow ‘sensationalism’ in its coverage, as this seems to some participants in public debate the only way to ‘make their stand’ in the public arena.  

Unequivocal condemnation of such behaviour will reflect our denial of consent to a further decline in the level of public debate which exerts so great an influence on the shaping of views and the quality of public life. A lack of reaction on our part to such appalling, and widespread, statements might be construed as a measure of consent. As academics, and simultaneously tutors to the young, we can perceive the magnitude of the moral and intellectual decline wrought in young minds by these socially unacceptable attitudes. 

There is no truth without freedom of speech. There is no freedom of speech without truth but freedom of speech does not absolve the speaker from responsibility for his words.

By embracing truth and freedom of speech as basic imperatives in the functioning of a modern democratic society, KRASP wishes to appeal to all participants in the public debate to be responsible for their words. Let us cherish the highest standards of speech and respect for others!

KRASP Executive Committee

 

Last modified by: Andrzej Żurawik
Created by: Andrzej Żurawik
Last modified: 
2015, November 2 - 8:18am