The Bodossaki Foundation, Fund Operator of the EEA Grants Greek NGO Programme "We are all Citizens", announces the publication in Greek of the manual of the Council of Europe 'Bookmarks - Combatting hate speech online through human rights education".  This manual has been designed to support the No Hate Speech Movement, the Council of Europe’s youth Campaign against hate speech online, and will be useful for educators working to address this problem, both inside and outside the formal education system. The manual is designed for working with young people aged 13 to 18; however, activities can be adapted to other age ranges and other profiles of learners.

Hate speech, as defined by the Council of Europe, covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, antisemitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, and migrants and people of immigrant origin.

The need for educational initiatives which target cyberhate can partly be seen in the growing amount of abuse to be found on the Internet, much of which is extreme and racist in tone and can threaten the fundamental values of a democratic society. The 2014 edition of the Simon Wiesenthal annual Digital Terror & Hate Report notes a 30% increase to 30,000 “problematic social networks websites, forums, blogs, twitter, etc., comprised on the subculture of hate”. Other studies have tried to investigate the extent to which young people are encountering hate in their online activities. According to the report of EU Kids online for 2009-2011, across Europe, 6% of 9 to 16-year-old Internet users reported having been bullied online, and 3% confessed to having bullied others. The 78% of the respondents of an online survey under the No Hate Speech Campaign stated they had encountered hate speech online on a regular basis. The three most recurrent targets of hate speech were: LGBT people (70%), Muslims (60%) and women.

This manual sees hate speech as a human rights concern and the approach used in the activities is based on human rights principles and standards. Thus, the activities in the manual should help young people in developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will be needed if the Internet is to reflect the fundamental principles which have been established for the real world. This makes the manual useful not only in addressing online hate speech but also as a way of understanding human rights themselves and the way they apply both in offline as well as online settings. 

As the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, says in the preface to “Bookmarks”, "Legal measures are very important, but they are not enough.  Education is the only long-term solution: to prevent hate speech, to denounce hate speech and to promote solidarity with the victims." Similarly, the President of the Bodossaki Foundation, Dimitris Vlastos, notes that "human rights education is a cornerstone in the effort to create a modern democratic society and prevent phenomena of intolerance and racism." 

The 'Bookmarks - Combatting hate speech online through human rights education" manual in Greek language was produced under the Complementary Actions of the EEA Grants Greek NGO Programme “We are all Citizens’’.  

More information and the English version of "Bookmarks" can be found here

Share This Post