IGF workshop: Social media and youth radicalisation in the digital age

  • Awareness
  • 09/12/2016
  • Portuguese Safer Internet Centre

At the 2016 Internet Governance Forum (IGF), taking place in Guadalajara Mexico, UNESCO organised a workshop (WS 160) about Social media and youth radicalisation in the digital age. Sofia Rasgado from the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre (SIC) participated as a speaker giving the national perspective of the No Hate Speech Movement.

The No Hate Speech Movement is a Council of Europe youth campaign to address and combat hate speech by mobilising young people to speak up for human rights and democracy online, and to reduce the acceptance of hate speech by reporting and denouncing it. The campaign has been run by the Council of Europe's youth sector since 2012. It aims to combat online racism and discrimination, by mobilising young people and youth organisations to recognise and act against these human rights violations. The project is based on youth participation and co-management.

As part of the Council of Europe Action Plan on the Fight against Violent Extremism and Radicalisation Leading to Terrorism, the campaign has been extended until the end of 2017. In addition, it also contributes to the Action Plan for Building Inclusive Societies and the Council of Europe Strategy on Internet Governance, which advocates for an open, inclusive, safe and enabling online environment.

The campaign is designed to promote freedom of expression online by providing a safe space for people to express themselves free from fear of hate speech. The campaign seeks to decrease the levels of acceptance of hate speech, online and offline. It combats hate speech in all forms, including those that most affect young people, such as cyberbullying and cyber-hate. The campaign is based on human rights education, youth participation and media literacy.

The campaign mainly operates on the online platform www.nohatespeechmovement.org where anyone can join and share resources and experiences. It also hosts the Hate Speech Watch, an online tool for reporting, monitoring and education on hate speech. Each country also organises offline activities such as training courses, seminars, conferences, youth events, festivals and flash mobs. The campaign highlights the importance of involving school communities as well as non-formal education and youth work practitioners. It is composed of national campaigns in over 40 countries which, together with European partners and online activists, work to implement the campaign objectives and priorities for 2016 and 2017.

The campaign objectives are to:

  • Support human rights education activities for action against hate speech and the risks it poses to democracy and the wellbeing of young people;
  • Develop and disseminate tools and mechanisms for reporting hate speech, especially online;
  • Mobilise national and European partners to prevent and counter hate speech and intolerance online and offline;
  • Promote media literacy and digital citizenship, and support youth participation in internet governance.

These objectives determine the campaign priorities for 2016 and 2017 which are to:

  • Organise educational activities in and out of schools based on the ‘Bookmarks' manual on combating hate speech online through human rights education;
  • Recognise hate speech as a human rights abuse and incorporate this principle into human rights and citizenship education programmes;
  • Develop and disseminate mechanisms for reporting hate speech;
  • Promote 22 July as the European Day for Victims of Hate Crime;
  • Place a special focus on hate speech towards refugees and asylum seekers, sexist hate speech and antisemitism;
  • Develop counter-narratives against hate speech;
  • Create regional co-operation to support national campaigns;
  • Support the implementation of the Council of Europe's relevant instruments, such as the ‘Guide to human rights for internet users'.

The campaign in Portugal is being implemented both online and offline, based on some strong moments such as online activists trainings, thematic seminars and exchange of information/dissemination to the general public, following the European dynamics through various other initiatives related in particular to the European Action Days and specific themes proposed at European level.

For the new phase of the campaign, the National Campaign Committee coordinated by Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude, where the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre is a board member, decided to focus on the improvement of communications and making better use of online tools to give more visibility to the campaign. On the other hand, the Committee partners will develop more awareness-raising actions for young people and the population in general, as well as conducting training sessions on human rights education and digital citizenship for educators, teachers and youth workers.

The Portuguese Campaign Committee also supports the campaign through both online and offline involvement in activities such as Safer Internet Day (SID) and European action days such as Countering Sexist Hate Speech (on 8 March), International Roma Day (on 8 April), International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (on 17 May), International Day for Refugees (on 20 June), European Action Day for Victims of Hate Crime (on 22 July), and International Youth Day (on 12 August).

Other activities include:

  • The promotion of the No Hate Speech Movement at big events such as fairs and exhibitions, music festivals, seminars and others;
  • Production of materials and tools in Portuguese to support the campaign's actions, including leaflets and videos, as for example, the fifth episode of the ‘Net with conscience' web series, produced by the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre;
  • Translation into Portuguese and publication of the Council of Europe's ‘Guide to human rights for internet users', part of Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe CM/REC(2014)6;
  • Translation into Portuguese of the Council of Europe publication ‘Bookmarks – A manual for combating hate speech online through Human Rights Education'. The translation was made possible by the youth organisation DINAMO, and the support of Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian;
  • Launch on 15 December 2016 of the Portuguese version of ‘Bookmarks'. In addition, training session for the prevention and fight of hate speech online through Human Rights Education, 15-17 December 2016;
  • European Regional training of multipliers active in the campaign, promoted by the Council of Europe, and organised by IPDJ in partnership with National Committee members at Porto (Portugal), in April 2017.

More information on this workshop (WS160) is available from the IGF website.

For more general information about IGF, follow debates on Twitter using #IGF2016 or check out the daily video highlights from across the four days of the Forum.

And please keep checking the Internet Governance Forum page on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal for all the information on Insafe-INHOPE involvement in current and past events.

Find out more about the work of the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.

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