Young People Combating Hate Speech On-line is a project of the Council of Europe’s youth sector to be run between 2012 and 2014. The project aims to combat racism and discrimination in their online expression of hate speech by equipping young people and youth organisations with the competences necessary to recognize and act against such human rights violations. Initiated by the Advisory Council on Youth, and endorsed by the Joint Council, the project stems out from the worrying of rise in hate speech on-line. Central to the project’s philosophy is the idea that on-line public space is public space – human rights apply there as much in the rest of society.
The project aims to combat racism and discrimination in their online expression of hate speech by equipping young people and youth organisations with the competences necessary to recognize and act against such human rights violations.
The specific objectives include:
1 – Online survey will be conducted to identify the perception and impact that hate speech has among young people. The survey will be used to gather data, to building up a community of young activists and organisations and to focus the message of the campaign. The survey has also an important participatory dimension because it should provide the information to base the campaign and project’s development on the expectations and needs of young people.
2 – Training courses for online activists and bloggers will gather 60 young activists, already active in the online space and able to multiply knowledge and mobilize young people. The training will be based on blended learning and will focus on such issues as: human rights, antiracism and antidiscrimination, online campaigning; building and activating online communities.
3 – A European survey on the perception and impact that hate speech has among young people, to be carried out on-line between August and October 2012. The survey has an important participatory dimension because it should provide the information to base the campaign and project’s development on the expectations and needs of young people. ; The European survey should support the implementation of targeted national surveys, notably in the framework of the campaign.
4 – A Campaign Preparation Seminar will be held in October 2012 to further develop expertise and good practices, to mobilise partners and to plan the preparation and implementation of the campaign at European level. Other European seminars may follow later in the project, notably to discuss policy guidelines and the follow-up to the project.
5 – Workshop for young bloggers on how to combat hate speech on-line, organised in connection with a conference on hate speech, jointly run by the Council of Europe and the EEA- Norway grants.
6 – Study sessions realised in partnership with European youth organisations and taking place in the European Youth Centres of the Council of Europe will also support the project by aiming to support the share of practice and experience on the topic among youth workers, but as well to be a laboratory where new approaches and methods are developed and tested.
7 – Participation in European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) and in the Internet Forum and presentation of the project therein, as part of the Council of Europe Strategy on Internet Governance. Connections will also be made with the work of the European Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CD-MSI).
8 – National seminars will be organised in partnership with different governmental and non-governmental partners in the project. The national seminars will support the European campaign and will have a specific thematic focus agreed by partners and depending on the burning issues specific to the region/country.
9 – Youth media campaign aims to create a community of young people motivated to discuss and act against hate speech online and to place the issue of hate speech on the agenda of youth organisations. The campaign will have a European dimension that would provide the umbrella under which national/local campaigns should be more focused. The national campaigns should be carried out with the active involvement of non-governmental and governmental youth actors, in the spirit of co-management that under which the policy and programme of the youth sector of the Council of Europe is governed.
10 – Educational tools and materials will be created to support capacity building of youth organisations and online youth activists and action oriented tools that can be easily adapted to specific contexts. These will include a tool-kit on how to campaign online and awareness-raising activities about forms of online discrimination, including, for example, cyber bullying.
11 – A campaign conference gathering all the stakeholders and participants in the project will be held in late 2013. The conference will look at the overall achievements of the project and will focus on making policy guidelines proposals and ways to further the action of youth sector on the topic.
12 – Support to national projects by the European Youth Foundation. This support includes meetings and activities to prepare national campaigns, as part of the European on-line youth campaign as well as training workshops to prepare multipliers and activists on action against hate speech on-line.
Central to the project will be the Online Youth Campaign that will be launched on 21 March 2013. The campaign will be based on online communities of young people motivated to discuss and act against hate speech online. The campaign will have a European dimension that provides the umbrella under which national/local campaigns will be carried out. The national campaigns are to be implemented with the active involvement of non-governmental and governmental actors in the field of youth, in the spirit of co-management. National campaign committees are being set up in the member states.
A Youth campaign
Young people and youth representatives have provided most of the input to the campaign definition at a preparatory seminar held in October 2012. The seminar participants made several recommendations and collected numerous ideas for the strategy and the visual and linguistic elements of the Campaign. The participants also came up with concrete plans for the European and the national campaign programme, the ways of involving young people and schools into the Campaign.Young people will play the central role in the campaign by taking part in online and offline activities and in being its most important agents. The campaign is led by young people and addressed to everyone.
A campaign for human rights based on freedom of expression
The campaign is not run to limit or freedom of expression online.It is also not against hatred online and it is not about being nice to each other online – but this is of course very important, too!The campaign is against hate speech online in all its forms, including those that most affect young people, including forms of cyber-bullying and cyber-hate.The campaign is based upon human rights education, youth prticipand media literacy. The campaign aims at reducing hate speech and at combating, racism and discrimination in their online expression; raising awareness about these phenomena is the first objective of the campaign.
A campaign with many folds
The campaign seeks to:
The campaign will combine online and offline elements and activities. The local and linguistic aspects are very important; so the online campaign elements should be designed to give the possibility of adjusting to national cultural and linguistic realities. It should consider all dimensions of hate speech when assessing and acting, making the system sensitive to motivation, content, tone, context, targets, potential implications of hate speech.The campaign will connect with online communities and groups; it is also an opoportunity for youth work to connect with the realities of young people’s online participation. The Campaign will pay a particular attention involving school environments and also stakeholders in higher education.
The campaign’s main target groups are the public at large and online activists. “Victims” and “Haters” will also be considered through specific measures and through the wider project.
Read more by following the links below or download the presentations of the project: