31 August, 2017

German Campaign at Gamescom and Open doors days of Federal Government

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Campaign Activist
2 pm

By Sina Laubenstein.

In the last weeks of August, the German team of the No Hate Speech Movement has been quite busy, participating in two major events in Germany. Let me share our experiences of the last few days, and maybe you get inspired to organize a similar activity to spread the No Hate Speech Movement – or you might just learn from our mistakes.Pic 1 gamescom

On the 23rd and 24th of August, we participated in gamescom at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, the world’s second largest gaming event. The event is held annually and more than 300,000 people usually participate. In 2017, 355,000 persons visited the trade fair – including the team of the German No Hate Speech Movement. But why would our movement against hate speech online participate in a gaming fair? Well, our funding partners, the Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth organized for us to participate, thus, we spent two days from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the trade fair.

Even though we felt a bit out of place at first, most visitors actually appreciated that we were there, sharing our information and the campaign’s aims. Or maybe they just liked us because of our activity: We organized a “photo-booth-kind-of-thing”, allowing visitors to take pictures as a statement against hate speech online – and also printing these pictures to take away. Fun fact: Also, Federal Minister for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth Dr. Katharina Barley dropped by to take a picture, talk about the movement and its activities and support us.

However, we also experienced some negative backlash: People accusing us to restrict the freedom of speech and to discriminate against white men, you know the drill. Our solution: befriend the Vikings of our neighboring booth and get their fake weapons. We might not have avoided endless discussions and insults, but at least we had a quite amazing support network.

Pic 2 gamescomPic 3 gamescom

Back in Berlin after two days spent in noisy, dark rooms with video games surrounding us, we participated in the Federal Government’s Days of open Doors under the motto “Do you want to have a date with democracy?”. Completely different setting, since we were invited to use the park behind the chancellery – yes, that’s right: It is basically Chancellor Merkel’s garden.

Pic 1 Open doors day goverment germanyUnfortunately, neither her nor Peter Altmaier, Chief of Staff of the German Chancellery, had the time to drop by to take a picture with us. However, the Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration Aydan Özoğuz had a quick chat with us and also managed to take a picture (btw: on Sunday evening a politician of Alternative für Deutschland announced that “we should dispose of Ms Özoğuz in Anatolia – talking about hate speech).

Though we have encountered less criticism during both days of open doors, we still had some heated debates with participants, but this time we could not rely on our Vikings for support. However, the sun was shining, so people gave up quite easily – or maybe we just made our case quite convincingly.

 

Pic 2 Open doors day goverment germanyTo sum it up: During the last week, the German team managed to reach (ideally) more than 100,000 persons (though it might actually be less since we did not count every person on our booths). The majority reacted quite positive to the No Hate Speech Movement, yet some persons criticized us and our work quite loudly in an already noisy surrounding. Yet, we decided to focus not so much on the haters – they are the minority, inside and outside of social networks.

 


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