10 October, 2013

European Action WEEK: Local Democracy

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Category: European Action Day
Aileen Donegan
1 pm

Online activists! Next week (14-20 October) we are highlighting ‘European Local Democracy Week’ (ELDW), the annual European event where local authorities from all 47 member states of the Council of Europe organise public events to meet and engage with citizens on important local issues.

EAWAs we know, today in Europe hate speech can appear in political discourse, and this is true of the local level as well as the national/European level. Hate speech by public officials is dangerous as the potential for spreading and influencing the public opinion is even stronger when a politician or an elected representative in a local community is involved. Hate speech is a symptom of social problems that are much deeper than just racist expressions posted online. If you find hate speech online it is a reflection of what is happening offline too.

For the NHSM local democracy and a functional local community strives for cohesion and is not indifferent to violence or abuse against minority members. This is why raising awareness of hate speech in politics is important to us. And it’s why we are asking you – all young online activists, members of National Campaign Committees and everyone – to mobilise in your local community for this Action Week. Below you will find actions you can take individually or with your friends. Make sure to share your actions with us through Facebook and Twitter! You can also add your comment here.


Actions: What can you do during this European Action Week?

1. Report local incidents of hate speech on Hate Speech Watch: For example, hate speech against a group in a local community, or hate speech by a public official in a local community can be reported. This way we can map the problem of hate speech in local community affairs and understand the trends and extent of the problem. You can also report in your own language!

2. Use the Campaign in Action blog (you are on it now!) to share good practices of actions taken by policy-makers and civil society at local level to prevent hate speech and to promote participation and intercultural dialogue. You can submit articles, ideas and opinion pieces to action@nohatespeechmovement.org

3. Prepare videos featuring policy-makers and civil society activists on good practices and actions taken to combat hate speech, racism and discrimination in your local community. Upload them to our Join the Movement page.

4. Register on our Join the Discussion section, where online activists invite you to debate on the role of local democracy in combating hate speech.

Tuesday the 15 October (18:00 – 20:00 CET): ‘If they are elected by the people, they can say whatever they like,’ – a debate on hate speech in political speech from local leaders.
Thursday the 17 October (18:00-20:00 CET): ‘Hate speech is more than speech’ – discussing cases where hate speech has led to hate crime and what can we do about this.
Saturday 19 October (15:00 – 17:00 CET): ‘Start from your backyard’ – how to link offline and online mobilisation to fight hate speech at local level. More information below!

5. Do it yourself! Create your own slogan or motto and place it somewhere visible offline or online to spread the message of participation and local democracy. Share photos of your posters and messages online!

6. Connect! The ELDW has many initiatives, check if there is any happening close to you, attend them and spread the message, don’t forget to ask people to join the No Hate Speech Movement! Talk to us on Twitter at @nohate_speech #nohatespeech


Join the Discussion: The Debates
Our new section ‘Join the Discussion‘ functions to help you form your ideas about hate speech and how to combat it. For the first time in this campaign we will use this section to host three debates. We are focusing on ‘‘If they are elected by the people, they can say whatever they like,’ and ‘Hate speech is more than speech,’ and finally, ‘Start from your backyard.’

Do you believe your elected politicians can say whatever they want? Do you think hate speech is just offensive language or something deeper, something more dangerous? And do you think YOU can make change in your community? We want to hear from you this time. The debates will open up at the times mentioned above so get thinking and get contributing!

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