The HateBusters project was inspired by the No Hate Speech Movement (NHSM)Campaign of the Council of Europe and it uses the “Hate Speech” definition of the NHSM and the Council’s of Europe.
Hate speech, as defined by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, as well as discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin.
The term ‘hate speech’ is used to cover a wide range of content:
- Firstly, it covers more than ‘speech’ as it is perceived in common sense and can be used in relation to other forms of communication such as videos, images, music, lyrics etc.
- Secondly, the term can be used to describe very abusive and even threatening behavior as well as comments which are ‘merely’ offensive that can be passed as ‘opinions’
- Hate speech is intended to injure, dehumanize, harass, intimidate, debase, degrade and victimize the targeted groups, and to foment insensitivity and brutality against them
For the No Hate Speech Movement, also other forms of discrimination and prejudice, such as antiziganism, christianophobia, islamophobia, misogyny, sexism, homophobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, fall clearly within the scope of hate speech.
Why we should act
If hate speech is unchallenged, it drives human rights abuses further:
- negative stereotypes are disseminated throughout society
- groups become increasingly marginalized and isolated
- conflict and division grows, and abuse or threats increase as new boundaries are tested.
In the worst cases, mere ‘expression’ begins to translate into physical abuse. Hate speech can lead to hate crime, engaging human rights relating to personal safety and security. Hate crimes, including genocide, are always accompanied by hate speech. Not all hate speech results in hate crimes, but hate crimes always involve hate speech.
How to combat it
There is not just one way to combat hate speech and cyberbullying so we at HateBusters are giving you a variety of tools. By understanding mindfulness and self-regulation, we can develop skills on a personal level and also help others to control our emotions and think before we act, both in terms of participating in and reacting to hate speech. If we understand human rights more clearly and combine this with a better knowledge of digital youth work, young people and youth workers can both fight hate speech and cyberbullying from a position of added strength.
Together, we have to learn to use the internet responsibly and inform others of these issues. That’s why this project aims to provide young people and youth workers with a checklist for organising just this. We can work together to bust hate and cyberbullying all across the world!