There has been a sharp increase in hate speech across the world in recent years, especially in online spaces, which has been further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. To counter this trend, the UN has proclaimed 18 June as the International Day for Countering Hate Speech, which will be marked for the first time in 2022.
APC is joining this initiative by launching a global campaign focusing on hate speech online, its impact on vulnerable communities and ways to counter it. We will be running the campaign over the course of two days, 17 and 18 June. Join us in raising awareness about the importance of countering hate speech online by covering this important issue and the campaign, which will revolve around two key questions:
What is the impact of hate speech? How does it affect vulnerable communities? (17 June)
What are some responses/solutions to counter hate speech? (18 June)
Hate speech is increasing, online and offline
Hate speech has serious consequences for those targeted, especially vulnerable communities, often resulting in discrimination, hostility and violence. It dehumanises and “others” persons or groups of people, often consigning them to dangerous stereotypes that are used to justify discrimination and violence against them.
In many countries, the situation has worsened recently, with social media being used to mobilise hatred by powerful, well-resourced and coordinated groups. Their targets are often individuals and communities promoting diverse ideologies or dissenting from mainstream opinion, especially those belonging to religious, ethnic and gender minorities.
States and social media platforms have a responsibility to ensure that citizens and users respectively are protected from hate speech and are able to exercise their own rights to free speech and expression, including sexual expression. However, the response from both has been inadequate, especially in the global South. In fact, hate speech laws in many countries are used to target survivors rather than perpetrators of hate speech, and are thus used as a way to shut down legitimate expression.
In some extreme cases, social media platforms have played an instrumental role in crimes against humanity and even genocide. According to Marzuki Darusman, chair of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, “Facebook substantively contributed to the level of acrimony, dissension and conflict.”
Join us in raising awareness about the importance of countering hate speech online by producing journalistic materials, interviewing key referents on the issue or covering our campaign. Here are some resources you will find useful to gain insights on hate speech online and why we need to join forces to fight it:
#ChallengeHateOnline social media toolkit, including relevant messaging and a list of useful resources to help you build your article
APC’s article on the campaign
Information on the UN campaign
Reflections on hate speech and other thoughts, by a group of researchers in Bangladesh.
The Contagion of Hate in India, by Laxmi Murthy
Facebook and the monetisation of hate: The way forward for holding platforms accountable, by APC.
For interviews, coverage and other press inquiries, contact Leila Nachawati, APC’s media outreach lead: firstname.lastname@example.org
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