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Survey: 17% see hate speech as free expression

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Hate speech is viewed by 17 percent of audiences as falling within the scope of freedom of expression, a Cabinet Office survey revealed Saturday.

Given the result in the public opinion survey on the protection of human rights, a Justice Ministry official in charge of the issue said, “We have to continue efforts to promote the perception that hate speech is impermissible.”

In the survey, a total of 3,000 people aged 18 or higher were interviewed on Oct. 5-15. Of them, 58.6 percent gave valid responses.

It found that 57.4 percent of the total were aware of rallies and campaigns involving hate speech and that 47.4 percent of the hate speech audiences thought it would make Japan’s image worse while 45.5 percent saw it as annoying and unacceptable.

On the other hand, 12.1 percent of those who heard hate speech said they have nothing to do with it and that 17 percent answered freedom of expression is believed to be guaranteed for hate speakers, too. Furthermore, 10.6 percent suggested that there are problems on the side of hate speech targets.

Also according to the survey, 62.9 percent of the total respondents cited posting of defamatory information as the top instance of human rights abuse on the Internet. The percentage is 5.2 points higher than that in the previous survey five years ago.

Privacy violation was recognized by 53.4 percent, up 3.6 points, and crime risks of communications through social networking services by 49 percent, up 6.1 points.Speech

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