Outlawing of Defamation Based on Race or Religion Proposed in N.Y. State

A bill outlawing the writing, publication or dissemination of hate materials in New York State, making such acts a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than a year or by a fine of not more than $1,000, was filed here today for consideration by the next session of the New York State Legislature, which is due to convene on January 5.

The measure was prefiled by Assemblyman Noah Goldstein, a Democrat representing a district in Brooklyn. It would amend two sections of the state’s penal code and provide for the punishment, upon conviction, of any person who “writes, prints, reproduces, publishes, disseminates or exhibits any false and defamatory matter tending either to blacken the reputation of any group of persons because of its race, religion, or national origin, or to expose such group to public hatred and contempt or ridicule because of its race, religion or national origin.”

The draft further stipulates that “no person shall be convicted under this section if such matter is true” but declares that “the burden of coming forward with evidence of the truth of such matter shall be upon the part of the defendant.”

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