Politics are radicalizing and people are more hateful in social media. All this has paved way to the spread of hate speech and the denigration of minorities has somewhat become a part of our everyday life. Whether the subject is about refugees, sexual minorities or people with disabilities, there are still those among us who use their voice to sow hate.
Estonian and German youth wish to say with the social media campaign that started today that this does not have to be the case, and everyone can stand against hate. Videos created by young people themselves explain why hate speech is not an innocent phenomenon and what are its repercussions. Hate speech belittles a person, it brings about mental health issues, increases the prejudice about minority groups who are already vulnerable. In addition, it demolishes the society as a whole and can lead to violence in more extreme cases. It is important at the same time to understand that like most human rights, the freedom of speech is not absolute. Words must be used in a way that takes into consideration other’s rights and provoking hate is directly prohibited by our constitution.
What can young people and everyone else interested in the subject do then, in order to ensure that there would be less hate and all our lives would be more pleasant? Youths present two practical suggestions in their video campaign.
First: hate speech can be reported directly to the environment’s owner. For instance, there is a report button both in Facebook and in the comments section in different portals, which sends the information to the environment’s owner, who has an obligation to analyse whether it is hate speech and remove it if necessary. People can also turn to the Police, for instance via e-mail.
Second: everyone can be an ambassador of the subject and introduce the nature of hate speech, its influence, and its difference from freedom of speech. Feel free to share the information with friends, family members or your followers. Knowledge really does have influence! Read more and share the info with others about for instance our human rights guide.
The campaign and videos were created as part of the project “Research. Participate. Change” the purpose of which is to make sense of the nature of hate speech with youths, and its detrimental influence on both people and society. An international youth seminar discussing the phenomenon of hate speech took place in Tallinn in November as part of the project. A group work that was part of the event gave birth to social media campaign against hate speech that started today “Let us stop hate speech TOGETHER! #SHHH Stop Hating!”, which was created together by youths from Estonia and Germany. The funder of the project is the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Estonia.
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