Workshops for teachers in Italy

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Jun 062016

Two public events organized by BRICkS project took place in Italy in May. The objective is to disseminate the results of the workshops realized in secondary schools in Toscana and Emilia Romagna Region and to offer a training based on the module and multimedia toolkit against online hate speech. The workshops promoted by Cospe and Centro Zaffiria had involved more than 500 students for 200 hours.

 The training “Media Education and Hate Speech” was organized on the 24th Of May in Ravenna  in cooperation with the Municipality. The participants were teachers, cultural-linguistic mediators, and public officials for youth policies and migration. The experience in the classrooms was presented and ideas and suggestions about the possible solution against online hate speech and cyberbullying were discussed.

The second workshop was part of a conference organized in Florence on the 31th of May. The seminar was mainly addressed to teachers from various schools and it was the result of an important partnership among schools, associations and local authorities.  It was focused on the challenges for the future of education, with the aim of promoting a multilingual and international society, countering any form of stereotype and prejudice. One workshop was dedicated to experience of BRICkS and participants could discuss on online hate speech and related issues.

Other public presentations for teachers and educators will be organized after the summer break, stay tuned!


European Commission and IT Companies announce Code of Conduct on illegal online hate speech

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Jun 022016

The European Commission has joined up with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Microsoft to announce and introduce a code of conduct, which aims to deal with hate speech online. The IT companies agreed to several commitments in order to combat the problem. One of these commitments is:

“The IT Companies have to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.”

You can find the official EU-Commission press release and the other commitments here.

Since the announcement there have been varied reactions. The German media hasn’t taken too kindly to the reform. The general consensus seems to be that it is a good first step into the right direction but that it is not enough for the IT Companies to just be able to secure their good image. These reactions mainly stem from the very vague wording of the code of conduct.

For more information and further reading you can read a “ZEIT” article about the topic here or an interview by Deutsche Welle with German spokesman Hendrik Zörner of the DJV (German Journalism Union) here.

 Posted by at 12:42

The Web We Want – The Guardian

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Mai 302016

Our Comment is free site (now called Opinionopened up our columnists to reader challenge in 2006, and the idea that every reader can have their say is something that has made our pages special ever since. Much of the debate between readers and writers has been fascinating. But some subjects – historically Israel/Palestine, and today Islam, refugees or immigration – attract hate like a magnet. For the great bulk of our readers, and – yes – to respect the wellbeing of our staff too, we need to take a more proactive stance on what kind of material appears on the Guardian site.

Thanks to our skilled moderators, much of the abuse on our site is at the milder end of the spectrum. But even this can derail conversations and have a chilling effect on writers. So the Guardian today launches a series to find the right answers – “The web we want”

Launched in April 2016, the Guardian’s initiative commissioned a research into the 70m comments left on its site since 2006. It reveals that articles which attract more abuse and dismissive trolling, regardless what article is about, are according to sex, colour of the skin, and religion of the writer.

But most commenters bring insight, knowledge and enthusiasm to the debate and an article has been dedicated to the best commenters. The aim is to promote positive comments which animate debate and give a different perspective to the discussion as a way to counter hate speech.

Nine of the Guardian’s best below-the-line commenters explain what stands for them, and tell their personal stories about where, how and why they started to write. According to them commenting means to give a personal opinion, and participate in a community.

In conclusion, The Guardian asks to its readers how to improve online comments, focusing on the future of the commenting spaces. “What would you need to change for you to get involved? How do we achieve constructive discussion for all?” these are some question that The Guardian addressed to its readers. Share your views here

UNESCO’s global coalition against extremisms and hate speech

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Mai 182016

Promoted by UNESCO, the Campaign Unite4Heritage purposes to defend cultural heritage and diversity around all over the world.

It is designed to empower the mobilization of governments and all heritage stakeholders in response to the deliberate damage to cultural heritage, especially in the Middle East. Moreover, it invites everyone to oppose to any extremisms and radicalizations by celebrating the places, objects and cultural traditions.

Among its areas of interest, it is important to highlight that Unite4Heritage is engaged in “cultural diversity education”, which is a topic strictly connected to BRICKS’ aims. The coalition works to ensure young people can use the Internet without risk of radicalization, and to Counter Online Hate Speech through media and information literacy. It rises up against any types of extremist and negative narratives that call for attacks on cultural diversity.


Visit the site to get involved in UNITE4HERITAGE!

“Countering Online Hate Speech”

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Mai 112016

Launched on 2015, “Countering Online Hate Speech” publication is a part of the ongoing UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom. The study has been realized in cooperation with the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford. It provides an overview of the dynamics characterizing online hate speech with the aim of disseminate some of the measures adopted to mitigate it, and good practices developed.

In the introduction we can read: “Hate speech online is situated at the intersection of multiple tensions: it is the expression of conflicts between different groups within and across societies; it is a vivid example of how technologies with a transformative potential such as the Internet bring with them both opportunities and challenges; and it implies complex balancing between fundamental rights and principles, including freedom of expression and the defence of human dignity.”.

The research focuses on four areas of study. First of all, the “definition” of the hate speech; secondly the “jurisdiction” of the national governments and the role of transnational companies; the “comprehension” especially the character of online hate speech and its relation to offline speech; lastly the “intervention”, meant as the identification of a variety of methods that have been used to address specific and contextual problems.


To learn more about the publication please click on the link

The counter narrative toolkit

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Mai 102016

Funded by Facebook, the “Counter-Narrative Toolkit” website was created in order to push back against violent extremist content online. Furthermore, it was designed following the recognition that many of the individuals that are best positioned to produce credible counter-narrative messages do not always have the skills to do so.

The toolkit is completely free and it offers a guide to produce counter-narrative content and campaigning. Thanks to this site any individual or organisation looking to create counter-narratives can plan, create and promote its own campaign or social media strategy.

Let’s plan your campaign by following step-by-step tools and video tutorials!

Workshop on Hate Speech in Bologna

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Mai 042016

On May the 3rd, a journalism workshop about hate speech took place in Bologna, hosted by International Centre Zonarelli. This lesson is part of the journalism training course organised by Association SHE news and addressed to a group of 10 migrant women. Also a group of students from the Department of Political Science took part at the participative training.

Alessia Giannoni, from Cospe, was invited to talk about “hate speech”, the role of media, its consequences and possible solutions. The lesson was the occasion for a real exchange among migrants, journalists, associations and students. 


ECRI General Policy Recommendation on combating Hate Speech

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Apr 272016

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, ECRI – European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, has published a policy recommendation on combating hate speech. It is a guideline to all 47 member States on how to prevent hate speech, how to support those targets by it, and deal with its consequences.

An updated definition of this phenomenon is provided: hate speech is the advocacy, promotion or incitement of the denigration, hatred or vilification of a persone or a group of persons, any harassment, insult, negative stereotyping, stigmatization or threat of such person or persons and justification of these forms of expression, based on “race”, colour, language, religion or belief, nationality or national or ethnic origin, as well as descent, age, disability, sex, gender,  gender identity, sexual orientation and other characteristics or status.

Encouraging speedy reactions by public figures to hate speech, promoting self-regulation of media, raising awareness of the dangerous consequences of hate speech, encouraging political parties to sign the Charter of European Political Parties for a non-racist society, promote the monitoring of misinformation, negative stereotyping and stigmatisation, are among the most important recommendations.

It is important to recognise that a balance must be held between combating hate speech, and preserving freedom of speech. Indeed, Thorbjorn Jagland – the Council of Europe Secretary General – warned against arbitrary application of sanctions, and he affirmed: “Anti-hate speech measures must be well-founded, proportionate, non-discriminatory, and must not be used to curb freedoms of expression or assembly”.

Read ECRI’s report here

A Parliamentary Commission against hate speech

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Apr 182016

A parliamentary commission has been established in Italy to contrast and prevent hate speech and to study all the xenofobic and racist actions online. The first goal of this new institution is to better understand the probable drifts that hate speech could take, such as sexism, homosexuality, anti-semitism or Islamophobia and to fight them.

The Commission, chaired by Laura Boldrini, The President of Chamber of Deputies, will be composed by representatives of the various political parties, civil society organizations, institutions and experts.

Cospe is proud to be part of this commission, with other important associations and Institutions, such as Carta di Roma, 21 luglio, Amnesty, Arci, and Council of Europe.

The first meeting will be held on the 10th of May.

Read the Italian article from here

Hate is not an opinion. #SilenceHate in Italy

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Apr 052016

The #SilenceHate campaign was launched in Italy with a press conference in Rome on March the 17th. The occasion was the presentation of the research “Hate is not an opinion. Hate speech, journalism and migration”, realized by COSPE on the framework of BRICKS.

The press conference was organized by COSPE in cooperation with the National Union of Journalists FNSI, Articolo 21, Carta di Roma and Illuminare le periferie in order to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The aim of this research is to use analyses of case studies and interviews of select witnesses and media sources to shed light on the phenomenon of online hate speech directed at immigrants, refugees, and minorities. Continue reading »