In the research area "Media Criminal Law" we are currently working on the problem of so-called "digital hate".
The project aims to shed light on the different facets of digital hate from a criminological, substantive and procedural criminal law perspective. Several empirical studies will lay the foundation of recommendations for amendments to the German law that will lead to a more effective and efficient prosecution of digital hate. The Federal Ministry of Justice is providing funding and the findings of the project will be presented at annual conferences targeted not only at the scientific community but also at the media and the public.
The first part of the project is dedicated to attaining a better understanding of the causes, the appearances and the consequences of digital hate. It includes an analysis of hate comments that systematically classifies not only the usual targets of hate comments, but also the types of incidents that typically trigger digital hate. In addition, interviews both with authors and receivers of hate comments will be conducted.
Digital hate restricts freedom of expression
In order to gain a first impression of the status quo, the market research institution “Forschungsgruppe g/d/p” conducted, on behalf of Professor Hoven, a representative survey about the perception of online hate comments in June 2020.
42 percent of all respondents answered that they are more cautious when posting comments online or even refrain from posting online because they fear hate comments.