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Verdict of the High Court in Belgrade on homophobic hate speech sends an important message to the region

June 10th 2011

The High Court in Belgrade has ruled that readers homophobic comments from "Press" newspaper’s online comments section constitute hate speech

On 7 June 2011 the High Court in Belgrade ruled in favour of NGOGay Straight Alliance (GSA) claim against the daily newspaper ”Press” for publishing homophobic comments from readers on its Internet site “Press Online”.

The court’s verdict, which is one of the first given on the basis of Serbian anti-discrimination law, determines that the published texts and comments represent hate speech against theLGBT population, and that “Press“ has, by permitting and facilitating the above comments on the site, acted in a discriminatory manner.

According to the Montenegrin LGBT forum, Progress, the decision has a wider regional significance and it sends a clear message to the media that it is necessary to strengthen the capacities and focus of those in charge in order to stop dissemination of hate speech and intolerance towards LGBT persons via online editions of the print media and similar portals.