Tuesday 30 July 2013

Examples of hate speech are not hard to find online: there are pages on Facebook that promote rape, racist slurs on Instagram, and gay hate on Twitter.

Dr Emma A. Jane, a senior lecturer in media at the University of NSW and one of four panellists at the next RightsTalk in Sydney on 7 August, refers to such cyber hate as "e-bile".

“This is my term to describe the extravagant invective, the sexualised threats of violence and the recreational nastiness that pervades internet discourse,” she says.

“Contemporary netiquette not only permits – but often expects – internet conversations to refer to rape, torture or death threats the moment people disagree or disapprove.”

“This sort of hostile and hateful discourse reduces the inclusivity and civility of on- and off-line cultures.”

The prevalence of hate speech online raises some challenging questions: how do we balance freedom of expression with maintaining a safe environment online? What’s the best response to cyber racism, homophobia, sexism and sexual harassment?

These are the kinds of questions RightsTalk panellists will tackle next week.

Dr Jane (previously Emma Tom) will be joined by Professor Andrew Jakubowicz, who is professor of sociology at the University of Technology, Sydney; and cyber safety pioneer Andree Wright from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

A representative from The Antibogan, an Australian website that shames people who post racist, sexist or homophobic comments on social media, will also join the panel.

RightsTalk is a free event, hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

If you have any special requirements please email

What: RightsTalk, Human Rights responses to online hate, discrimination & bullying.

Where: Australian Human Rights Commission, Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, Sydney.

When: Wednesday 7 August 2013, 5:30pm to 7pm.

Cost: Free

Register now, online.