Demographer to discuss challenge of hate speech

Paul Spoonley
Paul Spoonley
Demographer Prof Paul Spoonley will speak in Queenstown early next month about hate speech and the internet, in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack.

Prof Spoonley, pro-vice-chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University, has extensively research immigration, diversity, the extreme Right and hate speech.

He recently chaired a government agency group on the "extremely challenging issue'' of hate speech.

His talk on April 4, "Hate Speech in the Age of the Internet: Challenges for All of Us'', is organised by Queenstown's Catalyst Trust.

It will cover questions such as: What qualifies as hate speech and who decides? What does it do to respectful and positive relations among our communities? Can it be controlled, and if so, how?

"When I began to research the issue and its extent, I was appalled at how much there was and the degree to which racial and religious vilification played a part,'' Prof Spoonley said in literature advertising the talk.

"I have studied anti-Semitism but what struck me was how extensive Islamophobic comments were, including from New Zealanders.

"And I was also struck by how particular groups - ethnic/religious minorities, youth - were impacted. The Christchurch terrorist attack has brought the significance of all this home.''

The talk is atThe Rees Hotel, Queenstown, on April 4, 6pm-7.30pm.


 

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