Cyberspace has provided us with the opportunity to digitally connect and further expand our online presence, however, it also resulted in the increase of cyber bullying and hate speech. In the framework of the “Digital Rights and Responsibilities in Youth Work” training course, this issue has been addressed. During the 5th day of the training course, the youth workers had the opportunity to participate in a discussion session with Ms. Natalia Monje, the communication officer at Ecos do Sur organization, where they further explore the organization’s “Cyber Respect” project.
“How can we stop hate speech without sacrificing freedom of expression?” This question was raised during the training course and was addressed by Ms. Monje in the framework of the Cyber Respect Project. So, what is Cyber Respect and why is it needed?
In a world where technology is changing the forms of our social interactions and also resulted in the increase of hate speech and online racism. This phenomenon has been addressed through the “Cyber Respect” project that proposes a change of our online social behavior, from slacktivism to cyber-activism, proposing an act against racism at the discursive level and on Social Networks and aiming at promoting Human Rights and supporting cyber-activists in countering the online racist discourse. The projects include investigating online hatred speech, creating tools that counter online racism, developing training materials, and providing activists, particularly migrants or racialized people, with the required tools to collectively act for an online intercultural coexistence.
The session included questions from the participants, where Ms. Monje further elaborated on the “I am here” initiative that acts as a space to provide online support in countering the hatred and racist comments on the social media platform. This initiative brings together cyber-activist to collectively interact on social media and face online racism and enhance a positive narrative in the digital space.
The participants have further reflected on the importance of Cyber Solidarity as a tool that can shift the online discourse and motivate users to positively interact and shift from being passive users to active ones.
Written by Talal Zeidan, the participant of the training course (Germany)