Hate speech is a prejudicial speech of animosity that attacks a person or group based on religion, language, ethnic identity, disability, age, gender, or sexual orientation. Hate speech attacks, marginalizes, and antagonizes.

– Hrant Dink Foundation

The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience – Europe (ICSC-Europe) is partnering with the Hrant Dink Foundation (HDF), a Coalition member in Turkey, to support the implementation of “Utilizing digital technology for social cohesion, positive messaging and peace by boosting collaboration, exchange and solidarity,” a project awarded to HDF by the European Union Delegation in Lebanon in December 2021. 

The overall objective of the “Utilizing digital technology for social cohesion, positive messaging and peace by boosting collaboration, exchange and solidarity” project (the Project) is to promote peace and reduce discrimination in digital space in Turkey, using emerging technologies, and to enhance the resilience of societies in the MENA region to harmful content by exchanging know-how and collaboration in the region. 

The project encompasses many activities to empower the capacity and awareness of civil society organizations (CSOs) and youth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to combat hate speech and harmful speech while also promoting the employment of inclusive pluralistic speech. 

As part of the partnership, ICSC-Europe and HDF will carry out the following activities under the Project’s objective to raise awareness about hate speech, discriminatory discourse and disinformation and promote rights-based, pluralistic and inclusive discourse in digital space in MENA region. These include:

  • Training for MENA Sites of Conscience members on hate speechMENA Sites of Conscience Network gathered in Istanbul from July 20-22 to strengthen their capacities to monitor, document and raise awareness about hate speech. The training covered conceptual definitions, methodology for monitoring hate speech, and strategies to counter hate speech and it will feature hands-on exercises. It aimed to question the prejudices and misinformation existing in society about refugees, contribute to eliminating social polarization, and strengthen awareness and establish an inclusive language together. To watch a highlight of the meeting, click here.

  • Training for MENA youth on hate speech. Following the workshop in Istanbul, members of the MENA Sites of Conscience Network will identify 30 youth in the region who will participate in five virtual workshops to increase their knowledge of hate speech, the methodology for monitoring and the alternative and pluralistic discourse. The final online workshop will regroup all the participants to present results and lessons learned, and discuss potential next steps as a network of young activists in the region. Learn more about this activity here.

  • Anti-discrimination training material. HDF’s anti-discrimination training material will be adapted to Arabic language and MENA context and case studies from different contexts of the MENA region will be included in order to empower the capacity and awareness of the CSOs and youth in the MENA region to combat hate speech and harmful speech while also promoting the employment of inclusive pluralistic speech.

All images, unless specified, are courtesy of the Hrant Dink Foundation.