- The UfM held an online event “Young people against Hate Speech on Social Media” with the participation of young experts from the region to address the forms and practices of hate speech and discuss the necessary measures required to combat hate speech on social media.
- The UfM held this online event in collaboration with the Mediterranean Forum for Youth (FOMEJE) and Sustainable Cooperation for Peace and Security (SCAPS). Young experts on the theme from the region participated and enriched the debate by addressing the forms and practices of hate speech while exploring the necessary measures required in combating hate speech on social media.
23 June 2021. In today’s internet society, online hate speech has become a pervasive obstacle that threatens the social harmony and well-being of diverse communities across the Euro-Mediterranean region and beyond.
Our region is home to many culturally and ethnically heterogeneous nations that constitute the richness of the region. Nevertheless, these differences, whether on the basis of religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor, are sometimes exploited for discriminating against groups, minorities or individuals.
In view of this growing phenomenon, the Union for the Mediterranean felt the need to address this theme among the young people of the Euro-Mediterranean region to promote peaceful, inclusive and just societies despite the diversity.
The online event on Young people against Hate Speech on Social Media aimed to counter the negative impacts of hate speech that have already been identified in many contexts across the globe whether on online or offline settings such as: spreading intolerance and hatred, discriminating individuals and specific social groups that lead to division in our societies.
Participants and experts shared their common concerns over the threats of hate speech on the integrity and harmony of their respective societies. They also identified its various forms and practices and diagnosed the negative impacts of this rampant phenomenon at the social, political, psychological and physiological level.
In her opening remarks, Ambassador Marisa Farrugia, Deputy Secretary General for Social and Civil Affairs Division, highlighted that the UfM Secretariat in line with its mandate and framework is bound in its role to promote dialogue and hold initiatives that deconstruct hate speech and create a positive role modelling for young people while raising public awareness on the consequences of social discrimination. She underlined that online hate speech is cyber violence that has a dehumanizing effect. Education and legal clarity are key approaches in combatting hate speech in our societies. A holistic approach should focus on the root causes of the perceived differences in a diverse multicultural society that bring about intolerance.
Young experts and speakers called for the need to further continue raising awareness and spread critical thinking skills among social media users in order to have a healthier use, consumption, circulation, and production of content on social media. Other proposals considered the potential of technological advancement, more specifically artificial intelligence, in regulating harmful content online.
The participants underlined that the UfM events that address the social dimension of youth current issues are highly relevant as they give a voice to youth perspectives and look forward to more of similar events.