Scotland Implements Controversial Hate Legislation That Damages Free Speech – Cindy Harper 4/1/24


Scotland’s contentious “hate crime” legislation, widely criticized as an affront to free speech, is now in effect. Critics have voiced concerns that these new measures, while designed to address the alleged harm inflicted by hatred and bias, may inadvertently act as a tool to suppress freedom of speech and be abused.

Implemented on 1 April under the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act, the laws aim to bolster protections for individuals and communities vulnerable to hate crimes.

These laws offer a unifying structure that both consolidates current legislation and introduces new offenses. Now, any threatening or abusive conduct intended to inflame hate, rooted in prejudice towards various characteristics like age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity, constitutes wrongdoing.

The law, applicable even within the boundaries of private family homes, penalizes behavior devised to incite hatred, a provision previously only applicable to racial matters in Scotland.

Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s First Minister, stated emphatically that a “zero-tolerance approach” is needed to combat hate. He expressed his confidence in the police’s ability to handle investigations related to alleged hate.

The majority of the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) approved the legislation in 2021. High-profile figures like J.K. Rowling and Elon Musk have publicly expressed their disapproval of the act, highlighting its threat to free speech….

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