Hate Speech and the Protection of Communities in the Hungarian Legal System

13 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2013

See all articles by András Koltay

András Koltay

University of Public Service; Pazmany Peter Catholic University

Date Written: January 8, 2013


The Hungarian notion “gyűlöletbeszéd” is a literal translation of the applicable terminology (hate speech) originally used in the United States of America. According to Gábor Halmai, “this type of communication includes acts of speech by which the speaker — usually driven by prejudice or even hatred — expresses his or her opinion of various racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual groups in society, or of the member of such groups, which opinion may insult the members of the given group and may incite hatred in society against that group.” According to the Recommendation by the Council of Europe, “the term ‘hate speech’ shall be understood as covering all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin.” The term “hate speech” itself is not used in legislation; for the purposes of written law, this term is covered by the crime of incitement against a community (Article 269 of the Criminal Code), supplemented by the crimes of the use of symbols of despotism (Article 269/B of the Criminal Code), public denial of the sins of the National Socialist (Nazi) and Communist systems (Article 269/C of the Criminal Code), and violation of national symbols [Article 269/A of the Criminal Code]. Of course, these crimes are not specific to the media, meaning that they may be committed by means other than via the media, but they constitute certain limitations to the freedom of the press. Furthermore, the Press Freedom Act lays down various provisions against hateful expressions.

Keywords: hate speech, freedom of expression, holocaust denial, potection of national symbols, media regulation

Suggested Citation

Koltay, András, Hate Speech and the Protection of Communities in the Hungarian Legal System (January 8, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2197914 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2197914

András Koltay (Contact Author)

University of Public Service ( email )

Ludovika tér 2.
Budapest, Budapest 1083

Pazmany Peter Catholic University ( email )

Szentkiralyi u. 28-30.
Budapest, 1088

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