Segre presents the results of his Commission: “Hate crimes arise from words”. Here is the full text of the speech

“When I became, after 45 years of silence, witness of the Shoah I was 60, about 30 years ago. I had become grandmother and I managed to speak to thousands of students without ever using the word hate. Without ever using the word vendetta“. To announce the approval of theunanimity of the results offact-finding survey on the phenomenon of hate speech by the Parliamentary commission who presides, the senator for life he had prepared a long and detailed speech. But in the end, Liliana Segre he preferred to speak off the cuff: “I had prepared a report that I wanted to read, but I changed my mind,” he said, leaving aside the written text. During her speech, Segre returns to when she was a child. Many references and the warning that “hate crimes are born with words” such as “when as a child they told me you die” and then there was the Shoah. She had become “one invisible little girl“. And, she assures, “it is very bad to be”. But despite the pain, despite Auschwitz, explains that his life was however “a lucky person”. And on the unanimity of the results of the Commission’s investigation, Segre says she is “very happy”. In the speech prepared but not read, the senator explained how the work started “from the awareness of the seriousness of the problems” or from the fact that “in recent years the spread of hate speech has been increasing exponentially and precisely with reference to the spread of new technologies online“With peaks” particularly worrying “during the pandemic.

Here is the text prepared by the senator for life – “Hello everyone and everyone, thank you for your participation and attention for this appointment that marks the end of the first important year of work of the Anti-Discrimination Commission. In recent months we have carried out an intense and in-depth work, summarized in the document that we offer to the various parliamentary passages. I take this opportunity to once again thank all my colleagues and all my colleagues in the Commission. First of all the Vice-President Senator Verduccifor the important role played by rapporteur in considering and enhancing the various sensitivities present in our Commission, but a heartfelt thanks also to the Vice-President Senator Pirovano and to the Senator Secretary Emma Pavanelli.

A special thanks then as obvious to the President of the Senate Elisabetta Alberti Casellati and to the Senate Administration as a whole, we have always felt closeness and concern for our work. Our Cognitive investigation it has benefited from numerous and qualified hearings, but also from the acquisition of many documents, which have implemented our wealth of knowledge in the subjects of interest, putting us in a position to foresee incisive and adequate legislative interventions. We started from the awareness of the seriousness of the problems. From the fact that in recent years the spread of “Hate speech” has been increasing exponentially and precisely with reference to diffusion of new technologies online. There has been controversy over this fact of the growing prevalence of hate online. However, hasty controversies, because all the testimonies instead confirm the extent of the phenomenon.

Professor De Biase during the hearing he spoke of a “gigantic wave” of hate speech; according to the teacher Santerini in recent years there has not only been a worrying increase inanti-Semitism he was born in racism on the web, but we are also witnessing an evolution of the phenomenon in new forms. These data were confirmed by the ambassador of the State of Israel in Italy and by the doctor Noemi Di Segni President ofUcei.

Even the Minister of Justice Marta Cartabia denounced the very marked increase in the circulation of hate speech conveyed by social media, with particularly worrying peaks during the long period of the pandemic. On this point, the denunciation of the United Nations High Commissioner was particularly clear Michelle Bachelet, who in connection with us declared: “hatred increases” and added: “social media are an important means of spreading hate online”. There are many Observatories dedicated to these phenomena. The data therefore exist and are verifiable by all. We must take this seriously and responsibly. Certainly the task of our Commission has never been to ‘blame’ social networks and platforms, let alone limit the right of expression. Professor Antonio Nicita of the University of Arizona reminded us, during a hearing, of the unsustainable nature of the alternative between freedom of expression and dignity of the person. Alternative from which it was then claimed to infer some primacy of freedom over dignity. In truth, these are two forms of freedom of expression, worthy of equal and inalienable protection.

Also with reference to this principle, which establishes a direct link between the granting of community funds and respect for certain rules, there have been controversies, but in truth we have heard the honorable member Cornelia Ernst of the Ardi, the Intergroup of the European Parliament against racial discrimination, which has requested the approval of a European regulation which imposes on the operators a modern and effective regulation of the large on-line platforms to expressly protect the rights of freedom and dignity of individuals and groups.
Hate speech it has always threatened the human soul. But today its diffusion can benefit from technical means of unusual importance. The doctor Nunzia Ciardiformerly at the head of the Police post, he pointed out that violence is on the rise because the Internet is perceived as a “wild” place without rules, where everything is possible and there is little risk. The prosecutor Giovanni Salvi spoke of a “criminal progression” deriving precisely from the ability of social media to trigger emulative and cumulative processes, in terms of aggression, for example, racist, in particular groups of alienated and deviant people. In the course of our work we have never failed to underline the importance of culture and education in contrasting the spread of hate speech. What Un And Unesco they call “counter-speech”, a counter-narrative, not edifying, but made up of knowledge, information, empowerment, individual and collective growth.

In conclusion we have made an effort with our work to identify one strategic hub: a new and more adequate balance between the protection of rights, first of all freedom of expression and, however, respect for the dignity of the human person, the true figure of a authentically free existence. We have worked trying to put ourselves in tune and osmosis with a world in constant evolution, which all the more solicits commitment and responsibility on the part of political decision-makers. The document that we are presenting and that we will offer for the evaluation of the Chamber tries to give back the sense of the work done, but also an outline for what to do. It is a fact that the web now represents the “Common good” most important of our age. Yet it is a mostly privatized common good, managed for essential aspects by large multinational companies (Google, Facebook etc.) and this despite the important implications not only for each individual citizen, but for the public interest itself, for the State, in the fields of security, information, intelligence, defense, even geopolitics.

In this regard, our Knowledge Survey allowed us to acquire the intervention of Dr. Bunches, head of institutional relations of Meta-Italia. An important contribution because it demonstrates how the same large, indeed gigantic, companies in the online sector are now aware of the need to limit hate speech on Facebook or Instagram. After all, even the American management of Facebook, in the face of the scandal that hit the large private platform in the autumn of 2021, came to declare: “it is time for politics to decide standard rules for the internet instead of waiting for companies to make choices that are up to the legislator ”. Words that question us as legislators. Certainly that of the relationship between rights and interests, between public and private is one of the most delicate aspects of the problem. In a “Dataroom” of journalists Milena Gabanelli And Simona Ravizzapublished on Corriere della Sera we read: “social media have become a very powerful weapon for spreading the worst human instincts, in the name of freedom of expression”; data follows: 1 tweet every two minutes against women, 1 every four minutes against Muslims, 1 every ten minutes against Jews, 1 every 11 minutes against homosexuals. According to a 2021 report by Amnesty International, 27% of comments referring to women, 25% to the LGBT community, 42% to immigration are discriminatory / hateful. This is what we mean by exponential growth in the spread of hate speech. Moreover, in a document acquired during our Cognitive Survey it is written that now the large digital platforms “also shape the behaviors and social interactions of the real world, establish the professional and social opportunities of people and, ultimately, what they think”. This is the true form of limiting our freedom of expression.

A conviction that now informs the major European democratic institutions. We know for example that the goal of the Digital Services Act (Dsa), promoted by European Commissionis to lead Europe towards a new phase of European regulatory strategy for digital platforms. The President himself Emmanuel Macronpresenting the French presidency of the EU, defined “top priority”, in the perspective of “transforming Europe into a digital power”, precisely the approval of the DSA together with the Digital Markets Act (Dma). But there is a principle that is acquiring increasing importance in the European Union, the so-called “Principle of conditionality” by the recipients of the funds. Born in the context of agricultural policies and resumed on the occasion of the appropriations of Next Generation Fundthe principle was recently re-proposed precisely with reference to the direct responsibility, that is, no longer simply voluntary, of the providers of the large platforms for the control and removal of the most serious and offensive contents “.

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