Letter to the Pope from ECPMF and supporters

Your Holiness,

We are writing to ask you to use the power of your words to appeal for an end to hate speech. On the occasion of your visit to Poland which includes  - as well as a celebration of youth - a service at the Auschwitz former Nazi death camp, your message could be especially relevant.

Letter to the Pope

Across Europe, people  - and especially young people - are being abused on the grounds of their faith, ethnic origin, nationality, political affiliation and lifestyle choices. According to the 2015 survey conducted by the No Hate Speech Movement, as many as 83% of young people who responded have come across online hate speech. In print, broadcasting and social media, the hateful words are contributing to an atmosphere of aggression and intimidation. The internet is a great opportunity which could be used to promote world harmony. Yet it is in danger of being hijacked by the haters.

As supporters of media freedom, we do not wish to see lists of banned words or censored websites. Those who abuse the channels of communication, and not the channels themselves, are to blame.  

We agree with our colleagues in Poland’s Helsinki Foundation on Human Rights:

Freedom of expression is not an absolute right and in certain circumstances may be limited, particularly in the case of hate speech or incitement to violence. In line with the views of the European Court of Human Rights, these are two extreme forms of abuse of freedom of expression that are not protected under Article 10 of the European Convention for Human Rights.“

So we ask you, please, Your Holiness, to support and endorse our appeal for an end to hate speech, for self-restraint and ethical conduct by all who work in the media and everyone who uses online platforms.


With every good wish to Your Holiness,  

Sincerely yours,


Jane Whyatt
On behalf of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom


Renate Schroeder
On behalf of the European Federation of Journalists


Elizabeta Stoleva
On behalf of the Association of Macedonian Journalists


Read the official letter here.

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