The government stated that current laws do not protect a person’s gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or disability.
The New Zealand government announced on Friday that it plans to strengthen the country’s hate speech laws and increase penalties for incitement to hatred and discrimination in response to An attack by a white supremacist in Christchurch two years ago killed 51 Muslims.
The move was made after the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the March 15, 2019 attack recommended changes to the hate speech and hate crime laws, which the commission said are deterrents against people targeting religious and other minorities The force is very weak.
The Royal Commission pointed out that to date, New Zealand’s hate speech laws have resulted in only one prosecution and two civil claims.
Attorney General Kris Faafoi said at a press conference: “Protecting our right to freedom of speech, while balancing this right with protection against’hate speech’, is something that requires careful consideration and extensive investment.”
“Building social cohesion, inclusiveness, and valuing diversity can also be a powerful means of countering the behavior of those who try to spread or consolidate discrimination and hatred.”
The government has proposed new criminal charges against hate speech and said it will be clearer and more effective.
The government stated that under the proposal, people who “willfully incite, maintain or normalize hatred” would violate the law if they did so by threatening, insulting or insulting, including inciting violence.
Penalties for such crimes will increase to a maximum of three years in prison or a fine of up to 50,000 New Zealand dollars (35,000 US dollars). Currently, the maximum penalty is 7,000 New Zealand dollars (4,950 US dollars) or three months’ imprisonment.
It also proposes provisions to protect transgender people, gender diversity, and intersex people from discrimination. The current law only targets the speech of individuals or groups that “inflame hostility” based on color, race, or ethnicity.
‘Question about freedom of speech’
These suggestions are now open for public comment.
According to Radio New Zealand, the government is also considering changing the language and expanding the incitement clause in the Human Rights Act.
But it has not yet decided which groups will be added.
Currently, the only behavior that is regarded as a crime is the use of speech that “provokes hostility” or “contempt” an individual or group based on skin color, race, or ethnicity. However, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or disability are not considered protected.
Australian Brenton Tarrant killed 51 people and injured dozens When he opened fire on Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch, shortly after posting a racist manifesto on the Internet, he broadcasted the atrocity live on Facebook.
With the support of the entire political arena, New Zealand quickly banned the sale of high-capacity semi-automatic weapons used by Tarrant.
August 2020, Judge sentenced Tarrant to life imprisonment without paroleThis is the first time that a New Zealand court has made such a judgment.
But changes to the hate speech law are more controversial because some political parties say it will hinder freedom of speech.
“The hate speech law proposed by the government is a huge victory for the abolition of culture and will create a more divided society,” New Zealand’s smaller ACT party leader David Seymour said in a statement.