Changes to rules concerning punishment for hate speech to encompass sexual orientation will not be established, even though during the previous government rule such changes had been initiated.The previous codex change concerned law harmonisation between people who discriminate homosexuals online and those who perform racial or national acts of discrimination. However, as the Ministry of Justice informed, there are no ongoing actions to resolve this issue.
Why is that?
In fact, there are only 4 prerequisites in the penal code. Article 256 deals with hatred directed towards other nationalities, beliefs or atheists. Those who encourage to do so – are liable to fine, freedom restriction or 2 years of prison.
Nongovernmental and European institutions have been saying for a long time that those 4 prerequisites are not enough. They point out that those who discriminate or encourage to discriminate people of different sexual orientation, people after sex change or disabled, should be punished the same.
A person who has beaten someone up because of their skin colour will be punished more severely than a person who has attacked someone because of their sex orientation. That’s the perfect example of law inequality – says Piotr Skrzypczak from the “Homo Faber” Association.
Can you sing freely about gay discrimination?
The rules that were meant to be changed, assumed adding prerequisites concerning sex orientation or sex change.
International standards have such [rules] – says Dorota Głowacka from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.
She also gives an example of a case which proves that changes in the Polish law are necessary.
Hip-hop musician Kiszło recorded a song in which he encourages to kill gays. He did not point to any specific person. However, in that case, we don’t have grounds to punish him for that. If a similar song was about Jews or black people, we would have used the rules about the hatred speech – says Głowacka.
The song case appeared in the Director of Public Prosecutions Office but was dismissed.
Europe’s recommendations are clear
The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights representative points out that both the Basic Rights Agency of the European Union and ECRU (European Commision against Racism and Intolerance) recommendations oblige each member country to introduce a prerequisite about sex orientation to the Polish law.
There are clear standards which oblige the country to protect sexual minorities and people after sex change from hatred speech – says Głowacka.
The Ministry of Justice, asked if they would start working on the changes, replied:
I feel pleased to inform that there are no ongoing actions in case of hate speech change – said Milena Dmochowska from the Social Communication and Ministry of Justice Promotion.