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Fighting Hate Speech through EU Law


Uladzislau Belavusau

VU University Amsterdam, NL
About Uladzislau
Dr. Uladzislau Belavusau is assistant professor. He holds a Ph.D. from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). The author would like to thank Evelyn Ellis (University of Birmingham), Bruno de Witte (Maastricht University) and Dimitry Kochenov (University of Groningen) for their precious comments on the earlier draft of the article. This article constitutes a chapter from a forthcoming book on EU non-discrimination law (E. Ellis & K. Benediktsdóttir (eds.), Equality into Reality: Action for Diversity & Non-Discrimination).
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This article explores the rise of the European ‘First Amendment’ beyond national and Strasbourg law, offering a fresh look into the previously under-theorised issue of hate speech in EU law. Building its argument on (1) the scrutiny of fundamental rights protection, (2) the distinction between commercial and non-commercial speech, and, finally, (3) the looking glass of critical race theory, the paper demonstrates how the judgment of the ECJ in the Feryn case implicitly consolidated legal narratives on hate speech in Europe. In this way, the paper reconstructs the dominant European theory of freedom of expression via rhetorical and victim-centered constitutional analysis, bearing important ethical implications for European integration.


How to Cite: Belavusau, U., 2012. Fighting Hate Speech through EU Law. Amsterdam Law Forum, 4(1), pp.20–35. DOI:
Published on 01 Dec 2012.
Peer Reviewed


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