October 7, 2015

Analysis of the situation with hate speech in the Republic of Macedonia

The Helsinki Committee of Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia implemented the project “Internet platform for mapping and monitoring hate speech in public spaces and the media”. Some of the activities from this project that is to be implemented by the Helsinki Committee consist of monitoring, taking note of and reporting hate speech in the public space and the media in real time.

-Noting down hate speech on a local and central level trough volunteers on the www.govornaomraza.mk platform

-A campaign promoting the platform and,

-Analysis and recommendations for prevention and combating hate speech

The last activity, i.e. the analysis, provides an overview of the situation in the Republic of Macedonia and the access to justice of victims of hate speech. Researchers and lawyers teamed up to process the collected data for the needs of the analysis, and at the same time consulted international and domestic legislation taking into consideration the need for their consolidation in this area. In line with the methodology, qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were used, as well as a multi-disciplinary approach, in order to answer the established theses:

1.Does the Republic of Macedonia have a clear and defined legal framework concerning hate speech?

2.Are citizens given access to efficient and effective protection mechanisms against hate speech?


Chapter 1: The first chapter deals with international legislation and definition of the term “hate speech” through examples of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. It covers the methods which make it possible to spot the difference between hate speech and freedom of expression, thus making it possible to make a distinction, especially in court proceedings on hate speech.

Chapter 2: The second chapter presents a brief historic overview of hate speech as treated in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Macedonia and the overall scope of the legislation and the institutions which need to provide the citizens with adequate protection against hate speech.

Chapter 3: The third chapter refers to assessment of hate speech in the Republic of Macedonia and the functionality of the laws and mechanism for protection against hate speech. This chapter analyses the data collected from the questionnaires submitted to the courts and institutions, as well as the data on hate speech from the platform. At the same time, it also deals with the responses to the established thesis and the conclusions about the situation in the Republic of Macedonia.

Conclusions and recommendations: In accordance with the findings, the legal research team prepared conclusions and recommendations for prevention and dealing with hate speech in the Republic of Macedonia. The recommendations refer to the need for improvement of the national legal framework, the sanctions and access to justice through the judiciary and independent mechanisms for protection against hate-speech.

The analysis, conclusions and recommendations will be submitted to all the relevant institutions and bodies in order to direct more attention towards this phenomenon, as well as the possible preventative measures that the country should take in order to decrease or eradicate this social problem.