Towards Improved Law and Policy on ‘Hate Speech’—The ‘Clear and Present Danger’ Test in Hungary

Peter Molnar

in Extreme Speech and Democracy

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199548781
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720673 | DOI:
 Towards Improved Law and Policy on ‘Hate Speech’—The ‘Clear and Present Danger’ Test in Hungary

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This chapter highlights the relevant jurisprudence of Hungary, a post-Holocaust, post-communist, Central European democracy, and shows that the search for effective law and policy on ‘hate speech’ benefits from a fresh, open look at the best practices wherever they have developed. It provides a short description of the social context in Hungary, the most important elements of which are: the Hungarian freedom struggles in the 19th and 20th centuries which always passionately advocated freedom of speech and freedom of the press; decades of totalitarian censorship; the largest Jewish community remaining in Central Europe after the Holocaust, mostly concentrated in Budapest; antisemitism; and the hatred against Roma Hungarians. It analyses how the Hungarian Constitutional Court and the other courts in Hungary have adopted the ‘clear and present danger test’ of the Supreme Court of the United States. Finally, in light of related Hungarian jurisprudence, the chapter explores what might be the most helpful policy on this issue, the most difficult of all questions of free speech theory.

Keywords: social context; hate speech; Hungary; freedom of speech; public displays; clear and present danger test

Chapter.  14494 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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