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Volume No - 14 Issue No - 25
It is a truth universally acknowledged that “[t]o be hated, despised, and alone is the ultimate fear of all human beings”.1 Speech is powerful – it has the ability to build, promote and nurture, but it can also denigrate, humiliate and destroy. Hate speech is one of the most devastating modes of subverting the dignity and self-worth of human beings. This is so because hate speech marginalises and delegitimises individuals based on their membership of a group. This may diminish their social standing in the broader society, outside of the group they identify with. It can ignite exclusion, hostility, discrimination and violence against them. Not only does it wound the individuals who share this group identity, but it seeks to undo the very fabric of our society as envisioned by our Constitution. We are enjoined by our Constitution “to strive for a society built on the democratic values of human dignity, the achievement of equality, the advancement of human rights and freedom”.