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No place for racial hatred on the Internet

Commission Commission – General

10 October 2000

No place
for racial hatred on the Internet

Commissioner Kathleen
McEvoy has declared that the Adelaide Institute should remove offensive
material based on racial hatred from its website.

Commissioner McEvoy
found that the Adelaide Institute had breached section 18C of the Racial
Discrimination Act by publishing material on the website, the consequences
of which were 'vilificatory, bullying, insulting and offensive' to the
Jewish population.

The decision challenges
the Internet's potential as a conduit of extremist views and paves the
way to limit it as an avenue for promoting bigotry and intolerance.

Acting Race Discrimination
Commissioner Dr Bill Jonas welcomed the decision. He said: "The benefits
society enjoys from modern technology should never be undermined by the
use of that same technology for racial vilification or other forms of
racist communication".

"In public discourse
there is a need to balance rights and responsibilities, for example, balancing
the right to freedom of speech and political communication with the right
to freedom from racial vilification. It is never appropriate to victimise
people of a certain race in the name of freedom of speech."

The decision found
that the Adelaide Institute website contained material on "the Holocaust",
none of which was of an historical, intellectual or scientific standard
that was persuasive on these issues. The main purpose of the publication
of the material was the humiliation and denigration of Jewish people.

Commissioner McEvoy
determined that Dr Fredrick Toben should remove the contents of the Adelaide
Institute website from the World Wide Web and not republish its contents
in public elsewhere. She also determined that Dr Toben should make a written
statement of apology to Mr Jeremy Jones and members of the Jewish Community
in Australia, to appear on the home page of the Adelaide Institute website,
for "having published materials inciting hatred against the Jewish people".

The decision follows
the recent "Scully" case in which Commissioner Anthony Cavanough QC found
that Mrs Olga Scully had distributed offensive anti-Semitic literature
in Launceston, Tasmania. Mrs Scully was told to apologise to the complainants
and stop selling or offering the material.

Media contact:
Janine MacDonald (02) 9284 9880 or 0412 783 631

© Human Rights
and Equal Opportunity Commission. Last updated 2 December 2001.

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