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Islamophobia, ‘gross offensiveness’ and the internet

Islamophobia, ‘gross offensiveness’ and the internet
Islamophobia, ‘gross offensiveness’ and the internet
This article argues that restrictions on expression based on ‘gross offensiveness’ or similar public morality notions embedded in speech offences are not and cannot be politically neutral and be evenly applied to political speech, no matter who is the author. Such concepts draw on a majoritarian perspective purporting to be reflective of unified base values of the ‘national community’. The article explores why such concepts of unacceptable speech are a poor fit for a deeply heterogeneous community, and all the more so on the internet, where those who engage in public discourse are even more numerous and more diverse in ethnic, cultural, political and social terms. Set against such a diverse speech landscape the prohibition of ‘gross offensiveness’, or what are considered the outer boundaries of acceptability, is repressive of minorities and of challenges to conventional opinions and existing power dynamics, and is liable to reinforce the very bigotry it seeks to relieve.
1360-0834
111-131
Kohl, Uta
813ff335-441f-4027-801b-4e6fc48409c3
Kohl, Uta
813ff335-441f-4027-801b-4e6fc48409c3

Kohl, Uta (2017) Islamophobia, ‘gross offensiveness’ and the internet. Information & Communications Technology Law, 27 (1), 111-131. (doi:10.1080/13600834.2017.1393936).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article argues that restrictions on expression based on ‘gross offensiveness’ or similar public morality notions embedded in speech offences are not and cannot be politically neutral and be evenly applied to political speech, no matter who is the author. Such concepts draw on a majoritarian perspective purporting to be reflective of unified base values of the ‘national community’. The article explores why such concepts of unacceptable speech are a poor fit for a deeply heterogeneous community, and all the more so on the internet, where those who engage in public discourse are even more numerous and more diverse in ethnic, cultural, political and social terms. Set against such a diverse speech landscape the prohibition of ‘gross offensiveness’, or what are considered the outer boundaries of acceptability, is repressive of minorities and of challenges to conventional opinions and existing power dynamics, and is liable to reinforce the very bigotry it seeks to relieve.

Text
Uta Kohl Islamophobia Gross Offensiveness and the Internet 2017 - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 26 April 2019.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 1 September 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 26 October 2017
Published date: 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 425237
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425237
ISSN: 1360-0834
PURE UUID: 851089a4-df1f-4b7f-be16-4311607d9502

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Oct 2018 16:30
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 16:56

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