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This document on hate speech is the result of multiple conversations with multiple assemblies involving Indigenous communities, artists, students, and gender and sexually diverse groups in Bangladesh. The goal of the project was to create generative processes and spaces for discussions on hate speech and freedom of expression which could continue beyond the scope and timeline of the project, with co-learning and co-creation, a major component of its desired impact. It hoped to create openings for critical inquiry into the experiences, public narratives and ideas around free speech and hate speech and their implications.
The contents of this document are a work in progress. It is designed to be the beginning of a conversation and not the end. The document is a distillation of the conversations held in the summer of 2021 as part of the project and captures the main themes raised in those discussions – it is not meant to be a transcription of events. The conversations themselves were more sprawling, complex and in-depth, and one of the goals of the process was to also create such spaces for exchange of ideas and experiences. This document is more condensed, at times still unfinished by design, more a working draft, and is meant for public dissemination and as a teaching tool to facilitate more conversations on these topics. It is a declaration of a set of desires, demands, flights of fancy, preferences and aspirations regarding what to do, what can and should be done, about hate speech, free speech and surrounding issues.
This work was developed as part of the grants made available under the project "Challenging hate narratives and violations of freedom of religion and expression online in Asia", implemented by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) with funds from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).