Hate Speech in Public Service

On 2 October 2019, the presentation on the research document prepared by the GDI, Hate Speech in Public Service: Analysis of the Response Mechanism to Violations of Ethical Norms, was held.

The research discusses the normative framework which prohibits the use of hate speech by officials employed in the public sector. In this regard, particular attention is paid to Resolution no. 200 (on determining general rules of ethics and behaviour in public organisations) and the Law of Georgia on Public Service that determines the disciplinary procedure. The research identified those public officials who used hate speech in public space.

The research also analyses the cases against specific persons, against whom applications have been lodged requesting institution of disciplinary proceedings. Considering this, the emphasis is made on the shortcomings identified during the research and corresponding recommendations are issued.

The following is worth mentioning among the shortcomings identified during the research: incorrect perception and the lack of information regarding the issues of freedom of expression and discrimination are obvious; at the same time, the fact that there is no definition of hate speech in legal acts makes it difficult for public agencies to identify it.

At the same time, it is commendable that, despite the non-existent procedures of hate speech in legal documents, most of the agencies followed up on our applications and started the examination of cases.

The research was made possible by the support of the UN Association of Georgia (UNAG) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) within the framework of Promoting Integration, Tolerance and Awareness Program in Georgia [PITA].