The EU’s proposal, known as the Digital Services Act, was the first part of the European strategy to tackle hate speech, Commissioner Didier Reynders said.
Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders Tuesday said the Commission will propose a common definition of hate speech for the bloc in a bid to crack down on online abuse.
“I want to go to a sort of Euro Crime to extend the notion of a crime at the EU level for hate speech, and all of the different forms of hate speech, not only terrorism, but racism, aggression against minorities and different kind of hate speech on platforms,” he said at a virtual panel on Tuesday.
The Commission announced in September it wanted to expand the list of crimes to cover hate speech on the grounds of race, religion, and national or ethnic origin. It also said it was considering including hate speech connected to sex and sexual orientation.
At present, EU countries have national hate speech rules that vary in scope and severity.
While the Commission proposed rules to regulate online content in December, Reynders said that the Commission wanted to “do more” to tackle online abuse.
Reynders said the EU’s proposal, known as the Digital Services Act, was the first part of the European strategy to tackle hate speech, which will require platforms to remove illegal content and products as defined by national and European laws.
But he also wanted the the bloc to adopt a common definition of hate speech, which would require unanimity between its 27 members.
EU countries have expressed concern with the EU’s Digital Services Act, that cultural and national differences about what is considered illegal speech could have an impact on the freedom of expression.
The Commission will make its hate speech proposal later this year.
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