Book on Racism

Yaman Akdeniz, Racism on the Internet, Council of Europe Publishing, 2010 (ISBN 978-92-871-6634-0) is now available.

Racism on the Internet by Yaman Akdeniz

Racism was a pressing social problem long before the emergence of the digital age. The advancement of digital communication technologies such as the Internet has, however, added a new dimension to this problem by providing individuals and organisations with modern and powerful means to propagate racism and xenophobia. The use of the Internet as an instrument for the widespread dissemination of racist content is assessed in detail by Yaman Akdeniz.

The problem of racist content on the Internet has naturally prompted vigorous responses from a variety of agents, including governments, supranational and international organisations and from the private sector. This book also provides a detailed critical overview of these regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives.


1.  Introduction
Quantifying the nature of online hate
The nature of online hate
Evolving nature of online hate and Web 2.0 technologies
Close relationship between racist discourse and racist violence
Seeking solutions

2.  Key issues: the global and decentralised nature of the Internet and its impact upon governance
What is so different about the Internet?
States try to regulate but…
Emergence of Internet governance

3.  Governance of racist content on the Internet

4.  National approaches to Internet governance and its limitations
An overview of significant national regulatory initiatives within the Council of Europe region
Council of Europe member states’ laws and compatibility with freedom of expression
An overview of significant national regulatory initiatives outside the Council of Europe region
Significant court cases targeting the distribution of racist content on the Internet
Yahoo! case (France/USA)
Zundel case (Canada/Germany)
Toben case (Australia/Germany)
Conclusion: limitations of national legal systems are evident

5.   Pan-European initiatives
Developments at the Council of Europe level
Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime
Additional Protocol concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems
Provisions of the additional protocol
Developments at the European Union level
Council Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law
The ED Policy on harmful Internet content
Developments at the OSCE level

6.  International initiatives through the United Nations
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
UN Policy work with regard to combating racist Internet content

7.  Effectiveness of regional and international regulatory efforts

8.  Alternatives to state legislation (self- and co-regulatory initiatives)
ISPs and blocking access to illegal content
Notice-based liability for ISPs and takedown procedures
Contrasting approach adopted in the USA
Internet hotlines for reporting illegal content
Self-regulation through code: rating and filtering systems
Filtering software use in Europe
Limited functionality of rating systems
Third-party systems and problems with accountability
Defective filtering systems
Circumvention is possible
Freedom of expression and censorship
Blocking rather than removal
Information, education and awareness campaigns


Appendix I – Council of Europe Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems, ETS No. 189
Appendix II – European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, General Policy Recommendation No. 6: Combating the dissemination of racist, xenophobic and antisemitic material via the Internet, adopted by ECRI on 15 December 2000


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