(MTI) – The right to freedom of speech should not be extended to include hate speech and this must become a legislative principle enshrined in the constitution, Zsolt Nemeth, the head of the Hungarian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
Addressing a plenary session of the Council of Europe (CoE) Parliamentary Assembly, Nemeth emphasised that efforts against hate speech must include targeted steps taken to protect debates in parliament as well.
Nemeth, speaking as the keynote speaker for the European People’s Party, said the strengthening of extremist parties, a phenomenon present everywhere in Europe, must be handled at a European level, to which the CoE offers an outstanding forum.
“Extremist forces must not abuse the opportunities offered by the democratic state,” he said. This means that house rules must be tightened, he added.
Extremists must be prevented from abusing the right to free assembly, too, and punitive legislation must be extended to deal with “uniformed criminals” who instill fear in the Roma and other national minorities, Nemeth said. He added that the freedom to use symbols must not be extended to the use of totalitarian symbols and added that the European Court of Human Rights should respect that member states have differing legislation regarding this issue.