Supporting the prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism

From encrypted messages to ‘lone wolves', the internet unfortunately provides a fertile field for fast dissemination of messages reflecting hate speech and terrorist propaganda. Online interactions have managed to bridge the distance between perpetrators and new affiliates, leading to the spread of terror initiatives and acts of extremism. 

"Radicalisation today has different root causes, operates on the basis of different recruitment and communication techniques, and is marked by globalised and moving targets inside and outside Europe" is one of the explanatory notes in the Communication published by the European Commission on 14 June 2016, focusing on the prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism. 
The Communication focuses on the EU work with Member States in seven specific areas:
  1. Supporting research, evidence building, monitoring and networking: one of the key actions in this area being implemented through the work of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Centre of Excellence, the European hub to exchange knowledge and develop new initiatives in tackling radicalisation.
  2. Countering terrorist propaganda and hate speech online: concerning the media literacy framework, within the Safer Internet Digital Service Infrastructure, Safer Internet Centres (SICs) responsiveness to the emerging issue of online radicalisation was also acknowledged "For example, the UK Safer Internet Centre has produced guidance on how to protect children from online extremism. In Austria, the Safer Internet Centre is working on a strategy to handle online radicalisation […] the Swedish Safer Internet Centre has developed educational material aimed at strengthening teenagers' abilities to see through propaganda". More information on SICs' activities on online extremism and radicalisation is presented in a focus article on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal
  3. Addressing radicalisation in prisons, once more also with the support of the RAN Centre of Excellence to exchange good practices and formulate policy recommendations on the prevention of radicalisation. 
  4. Promoting inclusive education and EU common values through a strengthened framework for policy support and cooperation, an effective use of EU funding (such as Erasmus+), supporting educators and educational institutions, and within the RAN education working group
  5. Promoting an inclusive, open and resilient society and reaching out to young people ranges from EU social and legislative actions to enhancing support to youth workers and organisations, and strengthening the European Voluntary Service.
  6. The security dimension of addressing radicalisation refers also to an efficient exchange of information and best practices between Member States and Europol where appropriate. 
  7. The international dimension encompasses actions from supporting international organisations in their work on counter terrorism to launching a feasibility project for Erasmus+ Virtual Exchanges and further extending eTwinning Plus networks to selected countries of the European neighbourhood. More specifically, eTwinning Plus is a project that promotes school collaboration through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) by providing support, tools and services for schools, enabling schools in Europe's immediate neighbourhood to link with schools participating in eTwinning. Earlier in 2016, BIK collaborated with eTwinning for an online safety learning event.
Overall, this communication aligns with other recent developments of the European Commission on hate speech and audiovisual media services, such as the new code of conduct for IT companies fighting hate speech and the new Alliance to better protect children online
For more information, see the news item from European Commission DG Migration and Home Affairs.  

Related news

Focus topic: Online extremism and radicalisation

Online extremism is an issue which is getting a great deal of attention at present. The fear that young people could be groomed online by violent extremists and terrorists and encouraged to leave their home countries in order to join IS (Islamic State) in Iraq or Syria is a concern, another fear is that, through immersion in violent extremist cyberspaces, vulnerable young people could also be radicalised to carry out attacks in their home countries.