Interview of Evelina Tsenkova from Bulgaria after the Training Course "Silence Hate" in Berlin.
Can you give us your opinion about the project “Silence Hate“ ?
Whatever I say about the "Hate Speech" project will be small. I think this is a very important but neglected topic nowadays. Unfortunately, we often encounter hate speech in our daily lives and that is why it is so important to know how to react when we encounter it and how to counteract its spread. I am grateful to our organizers and facilitators that I had this opportunity to learn more about this topic and that I had the opportunity to be part of such an interesting project. I think that the activities we had were really interesting and fully in line with the topic. I had the opportunity to meet many different people and hear their opinions on many different issues, I learned more about my human rights, hate speech on social media and how to reduce its use, I saw a really wonderful city and at a wonderful time of the year. Thank you, Copernicus Berlin.
How can youth help to combat the rise of online hate speech ?
I think that after the project, each of us, young, alert people, has more knowledge about the topic. The question here is how and whether we will use them. I believe that each of us can talk to our relatives and acquaintances and explain to them the impact that hate speech can have on a person. We can also support and understand a person who has encountered hate speech, report it, and do everything we can to reduce its harmful effects on our lives. I think that when more people talk about a problem, its impact is more aware and it helps to solve it faster.
Do you think that Media is a pathway to racism, intolerance, Islamophobia...? I would agree with this statement, because on the one hand we are all constantly connected to the Internet and social networks. Many people even show much of their lives through them. This can lead to envy or even insults on racial, sexual or religious grounds. Such a danger is created mostly by the false profiles in these networks, which in most cases are created precisely for the purpose - bad attitude towards others, hateful words, even real threats. Of course, such actions are reported, but so far no one has been punished. This definitely turns social networks into a toxic and mediocre environment. We can even conclude that the media is not a safe place. They are a tool that falls into the wrong hands and becomes a weapon. However, I believe that there can be a change if we treat everything responsibly and with real actions and consequences for pests.