How to end hate speech - some good ideas that actually work
In the context of the "Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech" project all of the organizations and institutions involved developed reports in which good practices were included. The goal is to give you useful ideas on how you, your community or organization can create initiatives to counter online hate speech and spread messages of positivity and tolerance.
So what can you do to end hate speech? This question is quite complex and has many answers. In fact it isn't clear if there is a right answer. However we want to provide you with some good ideas on what you and your organization can do to combat hate speech and teach your community on how to spread positive messages.
We start with an idea from Romania. There a project targeted toward students from all around the country was launched in March 2015. Teams of 20 students from ten partner schools across the country, coordinated by one teacher each, participated in non-formal education workshops and organized events in their communities to combat hate speech. The activities culminated in an Olympics on the theme of the project, which was organized as a 4-day camp at Tohanul Nou near Bran. Students team worked with real cases - hateful content and comments received by journalists of Gazeta Sporturilor, and had to propose an efficient method of action to counter them. Combining competition, prizes and fun, the initiative equipped young people with first hand knowledge of what hate speech online looks like and what it causes, as well as with the skill to work together, to react to hate speech with counter measures. The students learned how to recognize hate speech and how to react to it both online and offline.
More info here: http://lesshate.openpolitics.ro/
Meanwhile in the Czech Republic people looked hate speech right in the eyes and even interviewed it! Structured online interviews with producers of hateful content in the internet, that allow them to explain their views were produced. The practice aimed to improve understanding of the motivation for spreading hate speech and an effort to confront and prevent it. The interviews provide space to people who come across as very radical, to express themselves in more detail and explain the motive behind their messages. Although the initiative is called “Interviews with Haters”, the aim is to reveal the motives and mechanisms that lead people to post hate speech. The interview is led by the page administrator and published on a website with suitable profile and a strong online community to react to it, to actively participated in below-the-line comments and achieve impact.
More info here: https://www.hatefree.cz/
Remember The Ten Commandments? Well in Italy they wrote and published The Ten Commandments 2.0. Тhe “Non-hostile Communication Manifesto” is an initiative born in the context of a symposium celebrated in Trieste on February 17-18, 2017, under the auspices of the Parole Ostili (“Hostile Words”) organization. The document written by an online community proposing 10 principles (The Ten Commandments 2.0) that every internet user should keep in mind to foster respectful and peaceful relations on social networks, such as “Virtual is real” or “Words have consequences”. It has reached over 7 million people on Facebook and 5.5 million on Twitter. The Manifesto of non-hostile communication was made up of more than 250 proposals from the network. Among its signatories are the President of the Chamber Laura Boldrini, the journalist Enrico Mentana and the Mayor of Bergamo Giorgio Gori.
More info here: http://www.paroleostili.com/
According to the Greek the best way to end hate speech is to educate the youth on how dangerous it is and how words can hurt. Primary school resource materials and a 4-day programme to address and combat hate speech by mobilising young people to speak up for human rights and democracy online were handed out to students in the 2nd grade. The practice is part of the teachers4europe program. The whole practice consists of 4 activities, which took place in the context of the Modern Greek Language module of the 2nd grade. In the context of the subject of “Racism/Discrimination”, students created padlets focusing on the issue of discrimination and using material from the EC manual “Know your Rights. Protection from Discrimination”. They then made powerpoint presentations on the subject of online hate speech. The second activity was an experiential one and was about human rights and hate speech. The resource of the remaining two activities: human rights competition and teaching scenario on the internet - was the manual “Bookmarks” published by the European Council.
More info here: http://www.teachers4europe.gr/
Meanwhile in Croatia they turn their eyes to the people who have to prosecute and judge on hate speech - judges and prosecutors. The educating process was dedicated to methods for recognising hate speech, encouragement of hate speech prevention and to the established judiciary practice. When acquainting the judiciary with the court practice, it was important to use not only local courts but also the practice of the European Court of Human Rights regarding hate speech, thus providing broader judicial context and standard. 30 judges and state attorneys were granted training directly and more than 70 indirectly.
According to the organizers the awareness and capacity building for the prosecutors and judges is an important component of the holistic societal response to hate crimes and hate speech. Sound judicial response and unified practice is key to the credibility of no hate speech policy. This is of particular importance of societies with recent war or terrorist attack memories. It is important to use not only the national but also the European practice such as the practice of the European Court of Human Rights.
More info here: http://www.centar-za-mir.hr/
The UK don't hold back. We will tell you about not only one, but two intitatives, that organizations in London made possible.
The first one is an app. Self Evident is a free app that records, validates and secures evidence. The new app, which is free to download and available on both Apple and android platforms, builds on the existing Self Evident crime reporting app from social enterprise Just Evidence. It enables victims to immediately report an incident, with the information going directly to the Police via a secure server. Users can also upload photographic and video material as part of their report, providing the option to submit a verbal statement or footage of the incident. It is available in English, Danish, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.
More info here: https://www.witnessconfident.org/
The other big initiative in London is handing out free resource packs for schools to help teachers explore issues about hate crime and bullying with young people.
CPS North West developed free resource packs for schools to help teachers explore issues about hate crime and bullying with young people. Each pack contains a DVD with scenarios based on real-life incidents in which young people have experienced bullying or hate crime because of their identity. They also include lesson plans with classroom activities which guide understanding and awareness of hate crime and support the national curriculum.
Classroom activities and guidance for teachers are also available in PDF format which are designed to increase pupils’ understanding of hate crime and prejudice and enable them to explore ways of challenging it.
The resource packs are available for free download. This set of resources can be used by teachers to explore the issue of Racist and Religious Hate Crime. Equivalent packs are available for disability hate crime, and LGBT hate crime. The hate crime website, Report It http://www.report-it.org.uk/home lists these CPS resources as examples of good practice.
More info here: http://www.cps.gov.uk/about/
And then there's Bulgaria, where hate speech education and awareness raising in primary schools is being organized. It includes enhancing the teachers’ skills to present interactive learning content, enhancing the cultural and social skills of the children and inclusion of parents in school and community life.
Methodological and teaching resources on hate speech for pupils in 1-4 grades are handed out. The package includes a teacher’s guide with 10 lesson plans, developed by a team of primary school teachers, as well as interactive workbooks for the pupils.
The thematic modules present the subject matter in an interesting and engaging way, which helps the children not only to gain knoweldge but also to develop skills for open and tolerant communication with the others. The themes are developed as interactive sessions that give children the opportunity to participate in discussions, create pictures and sketches to understand better the material through their everyday experiences. In this way they also gain a better understanding of the various manifestations of hate speech on the Internet.
More info here: https://www.safenet.bg/bg/iniciativi
So that's what we prepared for you. Our main goal is to inform people on how they can combat hate speech in their community and spread positive messages among their peers. If you have done an initiative which main goal is to combat hate speech online and spread positivity, share it with us and become a part of our Coalition of Positive Messengers!
All of the reports, including the comparative report and additional information about the project can be found on our website https://www.positivemessengers.net/ or on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/positivemessengers.