Regulatory and self-regulatory frameworks against hate speech and disinformation in the EU

This factsheet aims to analyze the regulatory and self-regulatory framework against disinformation and hate speech in the European Union. Several examples of the EU level (initiatives for) regulation as well as self-regulatory mechanisms aimed at countering online hate speech and disinformation were presented in this publication. Examples of regulation or self-regulation on the level of several member states were also presented.

The wide recognition of the urgent need to address the increasing threats of online hate speech and disinformation to democracy and human rights is reflected in the number of recent regulatory and policy initiatives by the European Union, and in individual member states.

Together with this urgent need, there is an enormous challenge to devise and adopt adequate and efficient regulatory and policy measures against online hate speech and disinformation, taking into account the complexity of the field – the internet content regulation. The risks of unduly excessive restrictions for freedom of expression and of privatization of law enforcement by IT companies are particular issues of concern.

Some of the instruments adopted in recent years take the form of laws and rely on the authorities to provide law enforcement, while others have introduced self-regulatory and accountability mechanisms for online platforms relying on their own enforcement of the rules. At the same time, various EU-funded projects have been developed to complement the effort with research, monitoring, education, reporting, EU-wide networking and collaboration to counter hate speech and disinformation with knowledge-sharing, innovative tools, and informing political debates and decisions on regulation.

The brief presentation of examples of the regulatory and self-regulatory mechanisms in the European Union complements the factsheets with descriptions of national regulatory and self-regulatory frameworks against hate speech and disinformation in the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey. The factsheets aim at informing the policy discussions in these countries within the regional project Resilience – Civil Society for Media Free of Hate and disinformation. They follow the series of the national reports and regional overviews on hate and propaganda models of media and communication, on hate narratives in online media and communication, and on media trust, produced within the Resilience project.

Download the publication in English.

This publication was produced within Resilience: Civil Society for Media Free of Hate and Disinformation, a regional project financially supported by the European Union and implemented in the Western Balkans and Turkey by a consortium of media development organizations led by SEENPM. It is part of a series of publications on the same general topic researched in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey (all publications are available on the SEENPM website).

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Funded by the European Union

The regional program RESILIENCE: Civil society action to reaffirm media freedom and counter disinformation and hateful propaganda in Western Balkans and Turkey’ is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by partner organizations SEENPMAlbanian Media InstituteMediacentar Sarajevo, Kosovo 2.0Montenegrin Media InstituteMacedonian Institute for MediaNovi Sad School of JournalismPeace Institute and Bianet.

This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of SEENPM and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.