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Musk will pay for challenges to Irish hate speech bill

Tech billionaire Elon Musk has said he will fund legal challenges to Ireland’s new hate speech legislation.

Mr Musk made the comments in a ‘Spaces’ conversation with Gript Media on the X platform that he owns.

In the past, he has criticised plans by the Irish Government to combat hate speech and last year posted that the proposed legislation is “a massive attack on freedom of expression.”

Today, Mr Musk said that his default approach is to challenge any legislation that infringes upon people’s abilities to say what they want to say.

“We obviously have standing as our European Headquarters are in Ireland, we have a big office in Ireland, a big presence in Ireland so we obviously have standing,” Mr Musk said.

“We will also fund the legal fees of Irish citizens who want to challenge the bill, so we’ll make sure that if there is an attempt to suppress the voice of the Irish people that we do our absolute best to defend the people of Ireland and their ability to speak their mind,” he added.

Ireland’s existing hate speech law dates back to 1989, a pre-internet era, long before the advent of social media.

The Government’s Criminal Justice (Incitement to violence or hatred and hate offences) Bill 2022 aims to tackle both incitement to hatred and hate speech.

The proposals criminalise communication or behaviour that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a group or individual because they are associated with a protected characteristic.

It says those characteristics are “race, colour, nationality, religion, national or ethnic origin, descent, gender, sex characteristics, sexual orientation and disability”.

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