Young people called on to join campaign against hate speech
Underreporting key issue in fight against online hate speech
Twitter, Council of Europe and Youth Council spearhead launch of No Hate Speech Movement in Ireland.
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) officially launched Ireland’s No Hate Speech Movement in Dublin’s EU House today (24.09.14). The No Hate Speech Movement is a Council of Europe led campaign to build awareness of online hate speech and to support young people across Europe to challenge Hate Speech.
The event opened with young people speaking about their experiences and highlighting what the campaign can do to challenge racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, disablism and all other forms of intolerance.
Anne Walsh, Intercultural and EqualityOfficer with the NYCI said: “Underreporting has been identified as a key barrier to combatting hate speech online. The No Hate Speech Campaign gives young people a space to share their experiences, and feel they are being listened to. They have already begun to challenge stereotypes and dispel myths and assumptions across a variety of online and social platforms. We are now calling on more young people throughout Ireland to join the campaign and build on its success to date.”
Speaking at the event Senator Ivana Bacik said: “The recently published Life Free from Fear Report shows that hate crime is a very real phenomenon in Ireland today, and one which affects many different communities. People are targeted because of their sexual orientation, gender, including gender identity, ethnicity, religion, disability, age, including membership of the Traveller Community and sometimes for a combination of these personal characteristics.
“We know that the current legal regime is incapable of addressing hate crime, and that legislative change is required. We also know that hate speech needs to be tackled in a variety of different ways, and I commend the National Youth Council of Ireland for launching the No Hate Speech Movement in Ireland today.”
Patricia Cartes, Head of Global Safety Outreach at Twitter spoke about the process of reporting dangerous speech to Twitter and how they are increasingly observing the power and effectiveness of counter narratives. She said: “Twitter’s mission is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers. This brings a variety of users with different voices, ideas and perspectives to the platform.
“Twitter believes in the power of counter speech and I have seen first hand how effective it can be. Working closely with the Council of Europe’s No Hate Speech Movement and the National Youth Council of Ireland has been instrumental to our efforts of ensuring our users have a positive experience on the platform. We look forward to continuing our work with the National Youth Council of Ireland in the future.”
Bridget O Loughlin, coordinator of the No Hate Speech campaign at the Council of Europe said: “When I was first asked to be the European Campaign Co-ordinator for the No Hate Speech Movement, I happened upon a quote from Albert Einstein: ‘If at first, an idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it.’
“This, to me summed up the campaign – a perhaps absurd ambition, expressed by young people from all over Europe to get the message out there that Hate Speech on line is not acceptable. As a lawyer, I was sceptical. I now know that there is truth in Albert’s wise words – it may have seemed an absurd ambition, but it is working!”
Jennifer Scweppe, Lecturer in law from University of Limerick and co-author of the report Life Free from Fear Legislating for Hate Crime in Ireland: An NGO Perspective also spoke at the event, outlining research on the need for new legislation.
Young people can get involved in the campaign and pledge to report, and not to use, hate speech at www.nohatespeech.ie
FOR LIST OF YOUNG PEOPLE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW CONTACT: Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI on 087 781 4903, 01-478 4122 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
National Youth Council of Ireland NYCI is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people. www.youth.ie
The No Hate Speech Campaign The campaign started in 2013 and will run to March 2015. The campaign is being run in 38 of the Council of Europe’s 47 member states. The National Youth Council of Ireland is the coordinator of the National Campaign in Ireland. www.nohatespeech.ie