Participants in today’s launch of anti-hate speech campaign “Block the Hatred. Share the Love!” in Tirana concluded that a worrying rise of hate speech, be it ‘face to face’, online, or in traditional media poses serious threat for the cohesion of our democratic society, especially for vulnerable groups and communities. This must be stopped, and we all have an important role to play…
The launch gathered opinion leaders, activists and high representatives of public authorities, who raised their voices against hate speech and pledged to promote an equal society, without hate and discrimination.
Head of the Council of Europe Office in Tirana, Jutta Gützkow, opened the event by stressing the importance of fighting hate speech and moving towards a tolerant and diverse society. She concluded her statement with a strong message: “We call on all of you, whether you are here in the room or connected on-line: Speak out against hate crime, contribute your share to the “Block the hatred. Share the love” campaign so that the motto “WE are ONE” is meaningful and relevant.”
Head of Political Section to the European Delegation to Albania, Alexis Hupin, emphasised the importance of enforcement in the process of fighting hate speech. “I would like to invite you to continue this fight together, to condemn cases of hate speech, to report cases of hate crimes and to count on each other in making Albania a better place, free of discrimination, free of hatred and equal opportunities for everyone."
Blerina Gjylameti, Member of the Parliament of Albania addressed the event, focusing on the harsh language in the political arena, including in Parliament which fosters a conflictive milieu. She stressed that political parties but also the media must concretely take into consideration the Code of Conduct and not only have it on paper.
In her remarks, Vjollca Braho – Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection was focused on the promotion of diversity and equality in Albania, which is reflected in a series of national and international strategic documents, aiming to achieve as much justice and equality and empower all individuals and the society to enjoy rights equal.
Anisa Ruseti – Deputy Mayor of Tirana mentioned the initiatives in the framework of ‘Tirana - European Capital of Youth’, where young people from Albania and the region can use this year to create a network of friendship between other young Europeans and to speak more about human rights and equal opportunities.
Fabrizio Bucci – Ambassador of Italy to Albania, on behalf of the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe highlighted some key initiatives undertaken in the framework of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the efforts to fight hate speech and discrimination. He stressed the importance that Albania, Italy, the Council of Europe and all international organizations work together on antidiscrimination policies based on tolerance and respect.
The launching of the campaign was moderated by the well-known Albanian actress and civic activist - Ema Andrea, who joined this campaign as a ‘No-Hate Speech Ambassador’. The event was also greeted by a unique musical performance of “The Door Music Band”, a group of artists with special needs.
Ermal Meta – Singer, Author and ‘No Hate Speech’ Ambassador joined the event through a video message. "We need to know the language we use well and above all to choose the words we use carefully. "They shape the world around us, they shape our lives, they shape our future," said Meta.
‘No-Hate Speech’ Ambassadors such as Aleks Seitaj - actor and TV personality; Izmir Smajlaj - Olympic athlete; Kamela Islamaj - singer, and others also shared their personal stories in support of an equal society, free from discrimination and hate speech.
The “Block the Hatred. Share the Love!” campaign is an awareness raising movement introduced in the Western Balkans last year to inform and engage local communities in the fight against various forms of hate speech, targeting vulnerable groups and individuals such as LGBTI persons, immigrants, people with special needs and ethnic minorities. The campaign will continue in the months ahead with a series of public events promoted via ‘online’ channels (websites and social media), but also in the mainstream media.
The campaign is implemented within the action “Promotion of diversity and equality in Albania”, part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022", a co-operation initiative that supports reforms in the fields of human rights, rule of law and democracy in compliance with the European standards, and in the framework of the EU enlargement process.
For more information contact:
Besnik Baka, email: [email protected]; tel. +355 692 17 84 30
Almir Kulla: email: [email protected]; tel. +355 674 00 99 56