Hate Speech in social media: Fall of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

The whole gamut of public dialogues is going online, in gatherings and programs, in audio and images, and even with emojis, since more information is exchanged digitally. These debates illustrate the breadth of human experience: some may be educational and instructive, most are amusing and engaging, and yet others are religious or secular in nature. Some people are also obnoxious and unattractive. The majority of reputable media tools and devices are already actively striving to limit hostile information. Social media is not any different. We are a free-for-all platform with all views, a location where we aim to foster personality, interaction, and collaboration. At the same moment, we need individuals to feel welcome and comfortable when they visit Facebook. However, if we examine hate speech on social media and its significance on its own. Everything which explicitly criticizes someone depending on any “endangered qualities” such as color, gender, ethnic origin, religious connection, sexual preference, sexuality, gender identity, or significant disability or condition, is considered hate speech. When anything crosses the boundary, there is no widely accepted solution. Although some nations have laws prohibiting hate speech, such as Switzerland, UAE, Sweden, and many more,  the meanings of the term vary widely. However, when we consider this in the context of Afghanistan, the essential question is: Is it true that social media is a catalyst for hate speech in Afghanistan? And, what role does hate speech on social media platforms have in undermining the government’s authority in Afghanistan? To answer these questions, this article will analyze the impact of hate speech on social media platforms on the authority of the government in Afghanistan. We also give institutional and organizational perspectives on the significance of hate speech in society and the harm it has caused Afghanistan, and what the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s government could have done to defend its authority while simultaneously respecting freedom of expression.

Hate speech impacts in Afghanistan throughout history

   Hate speech in Afghanistan has a long history, as seen by hate speeches directed toward monarchs and other significant political parties. It has had a significant influence on the political views of a wide range of countries. It begins with the British rule of Afghanistan when the British fought three Anglo-Afghan wars, all of which the British lost, Which ended with King Amanullah Khan’s declaration of independence in 1919 (Crews & Tarzi, 2008). When they all began with hate speech directed against British soldiers, and also when Mula’s, religious instructors, and ethnic groups from all across Afghanistan began to assemble against them (Crews & Tarzi, 2008). Also, persuading people and enforcing hate speech, led to fights and wars against the British. Even though Amanullah Khan tried to modernize the country and began reforms in several sectors, hate groups in Khost and Shinwari began spewing hate speech, inciting people to revolt against Amanullah Khan, resulting in Amanullah Khan’s monarchy crumbling (Runion,2017). Moving forward, hate speeches and hate groups have been the major causes of the Afghan government’s downfall throughout its history. Even back then, when there was no social media or other forms of communication, hate speech against the government was rampant. It resulted in the demise of those governments, with the discovery of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms, the rate of hate speech has risen, as almost all news and reports, as well as hate speech against the government or political entities, are disseminated via social media platforms.

 Social media is the key mechanism of hate speech

     For many Afghans, social media has now become their main source of information. If Afghans are engaged in terrorist attacks or the newest trends, they will go to social networking sites immediately. Because of this information’s accessibility, people are becoming more conscious of societal developments. Several individuals in Afghanistan are now characterized by a wide range of information that they were previously unaware of. Due to recurrent battles and wars, Afghanistan and its inhabitants have been cut off from media and international events for years. It may pique people’s attention and encourage them to be more accessible about different lifestyles, beliefs, and viewpoints. People can use social media to speak about problems that aren’t appropriate to discuss in public. Too frequently, young Afghans’ parents or close family members forbid private gatherings between friends, particularly if the friends are of the opposite gender. Many societal constraints – particularly for women – limit one’s opportunity to interpret one’s self. In this scenario, social media may act as a virtual safe place for younger people to express themselves and openly investigate parts of their personalities (Howard, 2017). But in Afghanistan, it became a tool that brought down the morale of the government against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.   The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan worked in a variety of ways to combat hate speech against them throughout the years. The online media service’s research in the field is centered on the freedom of expression viewpoint,  which emphasizes collaboration with participating countries in making preparations, trying to assess, evaluating, and helping to bring any policies and rules that constrain freedom of expression in line with the Convention on Human Rights. But eventually, they failed. 

Weak government + National Challenges= Downfall

   Moreover, the department aimed to improve media and internet proficiency in all national governments, inform people about hate speech and the dangers it presents to society and people, decrease hate speech acceptability, and work collaboratively on making national policies to counter hate speech. Hate speech is a term that describes a wide conversation that is very unfavorable and poses a threat to social harmony (Wimpelmann, 2017). Which has no specific definition under international human rights; it is an expression used to designate a wide discussion that is extremely negative and poses a threat to society’s peace. But, Article 34 of the Afghan Constitution guaranteed freedom of expression and the media, however, there were limitations on media that may infringe on Islamic law or offend different religions. This again brought challenges to the government, in that way how could the weak government deal with such an issue? Not only the constitution, but ICCPR article 19 also says that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to discover, accept, and transmit thoughts and knowledge of any type, independent of borders, verbally, in writing, or print, in the piece of expression, or via any other medium of his choosing. The Universal declaration of human rights says that all of us have the right to have our ideas and the ability to openly express ideas. We should be able to communicate our thoughts with whomever we desire and in whatever format we desire. As a result, the government was not able to implement policies and objectives to reduce hate speech, particularly comments that pose a threat to the government.


          In conclusion, we could say that hate speech has a strong tradition in Afghanistan, as seen by hate speeches made toward kings and other powerful political groups. According to the article, the government can protect its power while preserving freedom of expression. It also discusses the importance of hate speech in society from institutional and organizational viewpoints. Hate organizations in Khost and Shinwari began spouting anti-Amanullah Khan Rhetoric, encouraging people to rebel. Hate speech against the government was common even back then when there was no social media or other kinds of communication. The pace of adoption of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms has increased dramatically since their inception, and with that, the hate speech rate was also increased. In the end, The role of hate speech in the lives of the non-Muslim minority in Afghanistan should be the topic and issue for future research.

Mohammad Imran Khushal
Mohammad Imran Khushal
Mohammad Imran Khushal received a degree in political science and public administration with a minor in law from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). He is a writer, researcher, and advocate for world peace. engaged with diplomacy, governance, Public policy, Political integrity, and equity.