Point Two: The Reach of the Speech
A private conversation in a public place can include the most unspeakable opinions but do relatively little harm and so would not necessarily breach the test of hate speech. But that changes if the speech is disseminated through mainstream media or the Internet.
Journalists also have to consider the frequency and extent of the communication – is it a short momentary, intemperate burst of invective and hatred, or is it repeated deliberately and continuously?
Answering the question of the newsworthiness and intention may be helped by considering if there is a pattern of behaviour or if it is a one-time incident. Repetition is a useful indicator of a deliberate strategy to engender hostility towards others, whether based upon ethnic, racial, religious or other form of discrimination.
The EJN five-point test of hate speech has been developed by EJN advisers and is based on international standards.
It highlights some questions to be asked in the gathering, preparing and disseminating of news and information that will help journalists and editors place what is said and who is saying it in an ethical context.
Browse the report, and explore our related resources, by clicking on the links below.
The EJN’s 5-Point Test for Hate Speech Video
Watch Aidan White explain how journalists can use the test in the video below.
Watch our YouTube playlist of videos on reporting hate speech.
The EJN’s 5-Point Test for Hate Speech – Infographics