Interview of Ivana Yorgova from Bulgaria after the Training Course "Silence Hate" in Berlin.
Can you give us your opinion about the project “Silence Hate“ ?
“Silence Hate” training course, which has recently taken place in Berlin, has been a very educational project, which apart from its main aim to equip youth workers with the skills and knowledge necessary to develop practical tools and counter-arguments to online hate speech, has also introduced us to many platforms and online sources which can support youth workers in their work in the frame of human rights, anti-hate speech and other social exclusion related elements that we can use. During the training course were used non-formal learning methods, which always happen to be much more fruitful way of working and always end up with amazing ideas for future work in the field. At last but not least, an international Erasmus + project is always the best place to meet people with similar interests and expertise and expand your network on international level, which is always a new door opened for future cooperation and most importantly for improving the situation with the targeted issue.
How can youth help to combat the rise of online hate speech ?
We cannot let the spread of hate speech to continue. We cannot let people celebrate racism, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, and white nationalism under the banner of free speech. Hate speech pervades the Internet and it causes a great deal of harm. It poisons debate, fuels prejudice, paves the way for real-world violence and divides society. Hold platforms accountable for hate speech. Report tweets, YouTube videos, Instagram posts, Facebook posts, and other speech that spreads hate to the platforms that are hosting it and demand action. If given the opportunity, be specific about what you find offensive and why. Raise awareness of the problem. Talk to your friends and family about why hate speech is not a problem just for the internet, but our societies and culture at large
Support people who are targets of hate speech. Fight back against harmful messages in public places by publicly standing with victims and showing solidarity Boost positive messages of tolerance. Part of modeling what we don’t want to see is modeling what we do want to see Notify organizations fighting hate about the worst instances you see. Tracking hate, where it’s coming from, and whom it is directed at is an important part of fighting it.
Do you think that Media is a pathway to racism, intolerance, Islamophobia...? Yes. Examples are all around us, today, every day. The people in charge in politics and business control media and it says what it is told to say. Most of the time the people in the society are an easy target as they tend to believe what they hear and media is what is the easiest to hear unlike the voices of the suppressed or the attacked ones. To be a better citizen and better human is hard nowadays because hate and negativity are around and the struggle gets bigger. The more media is easy to access the more it is modified by the strong ones of today and is used as a tool, as a booster, as a way of promoting someone’s ideas for the sake of profit. If you want to be a good person start with filtering what you hear and think if this or that is worth doing to another person.