No Hate Speech Online Training Course
The Council of Europe’s Youth and Anti-Discrimination Department organise jointly the No Hate Speech training course which aims to strengthen the competences of multipliers and advocates in the youth and human rights field to promote the Council of Europe standards and approaches to address hate speech, with a specific focus on counter and alternative narratives through human rights education. The course was transformed into an online learning activity, partially open for other activists and multipliers to take part in some of its online events.
The course gathers some 40 multipliers active with young people on combating hate speech, experts working on standards on fighting discrimination and hate speech, and activists using human rights education and counter-narratives for awareness-raising against hate speech. The participants represent various stakeholders in society, notably youth movements, educational organisations, local authorities, equality bodies/ ombuds-offices, and Human Rights NGO’s.
About the Council of Europe’s work on addressing hate speech
The Council of Europe was the first, and remains the only intergovernmental organisation, to have adopted a definition of hate speech in 1997. The organisation’s work on combatting hate speech gained new impetus regarding the online dimension, with the launch of the No Hate Speech Movement youth campaign in 2013.
The No Hate Speech Movement youth campaign
The youth campaign has been particularly successful in raising awareness about the danger that on and offline hate speech poses to a culture of democracy and human rights. By the end of 2017, the campaign culminated in 46 national campaign committees established in 45 countries, including Canada (Québec), Mexico, Morocco and Tunisia. The mobilisation of national partners, including national ministries, institutions, NGO’s and especially youth organisations and online activists, has been key to the success of the campaign. In May 2019, the Committee of Ministers adopted a Declaration on the legacy of the No Hate Speech Movement youth campaign which takes note of the achievements and lessons learned and of the needs for its follow-up, underlining the role of European Committee against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and the special responsibility of the Council of Europe's youth, human rights, anti-discrimination, education and media structures.
Youth for Democracy programme
The Youth Department through its Youth for Democracy programme continues to support youth organisations and public authorities to address discrimination and hate speech through human rights education and youth policy measures. The Youth for Democracy programme has young people’s access to rights and Human Rights Education as one of its key objectives. Within this framework, it supports capacity building of Human Rights Education trainers and activists who are able to address the challenges of hate speech through non-formal education and youth work activities. In the framework of the campaign, the Youth Department developed the manual Bookmarks, which facilitates using Human Rights Education to address hate speech online, both inside and outside the formal education system. It provides a set of educational activities and background information aimed at developing knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to use the Internet safely and uphold human rights and democratic principles.
The work of the Anti-Discrimination Department
Building on the legacy of the youth campaign and ECRI GPR No. 15 on combatting hate speech, the Anti-Discrimination Department initiated new cooperation programmes to support member states in strengthening their approaches to combat hate speech by adopting appropriate responses including criminal, civil and administrative law sanctions and mechanisms to counter its harmful effects, such as prevention, self-regulation and counter speech. The cooperation programmes seek to establish national platforms to address discrimination, racist homo/transphobic violence and hate speech involving public authorities, legislative bodies, equality bodies and civil society organisations, as well as the national campaigns committees of the No Hate Speech Movement youth campaign.
The European Convention on Human Rights guarantees freedom of expression under Article 10 and prohibits discrimination – in relation to other rights and freedoms under Article 14 and more generally pursuant to Article 1 of Protocol No. 12 – but it does not contain any provision directed specifically to the use of hate speech. Nonetheless, the European Court of Human Rights has had to address such use in several cases, striking a fair balance between these rights, which deserve equal respect. Unless the acts in question were considered entirely out with the protection afforded by Convention, in accordance to Article 17 which prohibits acts and activity aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms in the ECHR, the Court has sought to judge whether the measures concerned were a restriction on the exercise of freedom of expression that could be regarded as serving a legitimate aim - such as for the protection of the rights of others. In this context, the Court has recognised that there is a positive obligation for member States to protect those targeted by the use of hate speech from any violence or other interferences with their rights.
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), in its General Policy Recommendation No. 15 on Combatting Hate Speech adopted in 2016, outlines how this balancing of rights can work in practice to ensure adequate possibilities for redress. It proposes a comprehensive approach covering, amongst others, speedy reactions by public figures to hate speech; promotion of self-regulation of media; raising awareness of the dangerous consequences of hate speech; withdrawing financial and other support from political parties that actively use hate speech; and criminalising its most extreme manifestations as a last resort, while respecting freedom of expression. It reiterates that anti-hate speech measures must be well-founded, proportionate, non-discriminatory, and not be misused to curb freedom of expression or assembly nor to suppress criticism of official policies, political opposition and religious beliefs.
Aim and objectives of the activity
The online training course aims to strengthen the competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes) of multipliers, advocates and activists sharing and interested in promoting the Council of Europe standards and approaches to combatting hate speech, with a specific focus on counter and alternative narratives through human rights education.
- To improve the understanding of Council of Europe standards and approaches to ensure a comprehensive approach to combatting hate speech within a human rights framework.
- To clarify the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in society in combating hate speech, notably local and national authorities, equality bodies/ombudspersons, and NGO’s.
- To build capacity in using Human Rights Education approach and methodology to promote Council of Europe standards and facilitate multistakeholder engagement.
The No Hate Speech online training course is consisted of e-learning modules, webinars and a workshop week.
The e-learning programme is hosted on the e-learning platform of the Council of Europe’s youth sector. It is consisted of several modules:
Webinar 1 - Understanding and analysing Hate Speech
The webinar explored the different definitions and understanding of hate speech. It also offered an opportunity for the participants to discuss how they should react to hate speech through different examples based on the activity Confronting Cyberbullying (page 66 Bookmarks manual).
Webinar 2 - Addressing Hate Speech and Discrimination (also during the COVID-19 pandemic) based on the work of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
The webinar explores the Council of Europe’s standards to address discrimination, especially the work of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and the GPR n.15 on Hate Speech
Webinar 3 - Combatting Hate Speech through Human Rights Education, lessons learnt from the No Hate Speech movement youth campaign
The webinar presented the work done by the Council of Europe in addressing hate speech, and introduced Human Rights Education as well as the manual Bookmarks.
The workshop week takes places from 22-26 June and aims to provide practical tools to address hate speech.
Here is an overview of the workshops:
22 June: Media and Information literacy
Can you use digital media in a conscious and critical way? Can you educate other people (especially young people) to develop media and information literacy competences? Media literacy is one of the tools to act against fake news, extremism and hate speech. One must first understand and be able to recognise what’s fake, extremist and hateful, before being able to undertake action against these phenomena.
Contemporary media education, due to media convergence and deep mediatisation, extends the area of interest to the whole technological zone, which is invisible to the user (digital data, algorithms) and refers to hidden and intelligent mechanisms of managing user’s activity, behaviour, attention, content, information and knowledge when using media and information technologies. Therefore, modern media education no longer focuses so much on technical digital skills, but rather on the ability to critically analyse the entire media ecosystem. The aim of this workshop is to understand and analyse key competences media and information literacy education should develop and to look at and reflect on media and information literacy practices (especially with young people). But it will all start with the question: How do I use media?
23 June: How to take action against hate speech trough Counter and Alternative narratives (CANs)
During the workshop, the participants will explore what are counter and alternative narratives, why, and how they can be used to counter hate speech. We will go step by step through the presentation about CANs, phases of oppressive narratives, their role in the social and political context, how they aim to influence public opinion.
During the second part of the workshop, we will practice CANs to combat hate speech trough discrediting and deconstructing the narratives, creating messages on which they are based, by proposing (alternative) narratives based on human rights and democratic values, such as openness, respect for difference, freedom and equality. At the end of the workshop participants will have key understanding of narratives, will counter and propose alternatives to hate speech and the violence discrimination by developing their CANs! The workshop-presentation is based on WE CAN manual.
24 June: Engaging with Council of Europe’s work on combating Hate Speech
Various sectors within the Council of Europe are addressing hate speech, through standard setting, monitoring and cooperation programmes with member states. (See for an overview: https://www.coe.int/en/web/no-hate-campaign/coe-work-on-hate-speech) This exemplifies that hate speech is a complex issue that impacts many people in society and human rights concerns, such as dis-information, internet governance, discrimination of groups in society, freedom of expression etc. The Council of Europe in working with a wide range of stakeholders, national authorities, law enforcement, judiciary, Equality bodies and media councils, NGO’s, Internet Industry etc, is working towards a multi-stakeholder and comprehensive approach to address the challenges hate speech pose.
This session will include a short introduction to the Council of Europe’s work on addressing hate speech, with a focus on Anti-Discrimination, followed by a open space for questions, reflections and exploration of challenges in members states that touch on the mandate of the Council of Europe.
25 June: Advocacy for Human Rights
Advocacy may seem difficult or complicated, and many organisations may be afraid to get involved in advocacy. This is often the result of certain stereotypes and myths about advocacy. During this workshop we will explore what advocacy is and we will discuss about the policies, participation mechanisms and tools for advocacy for Human Rights. It will explore examples of advocacy on local and national level, engagement in the policy making processes and also ways how to connect and do advocacy using the Council of Europe's standards and approaches. The practical part provides some input on how to engage in an advocacy process including Planning, Implementing and Evaluating advocacy initiatives.
26 June: Human rights education
Human rights education is one of the most called upon approaches to prevent and address hate speech, its causes and consequences in our societies. Defined as education about, through and for human rights, it can take many forms (formal, non-formal, informal), address any kind of target group (from children to the elderly, from students to judges) and can take place in any context from schools to online spaces. Moreover, the right to education also entails a right to Human Rights Education.
The workshop aims to introduce participants to the educational approaches to human rights education as outlined in Compass and Bookmarks and the competences to be developed through human rights education. In the online workshop, the participants will discuss how to develop human rights education programmes for activities and adapt activities from Council of Europe educational resources to different contexts, including online ones.