24 March, 2014

“It is the young generation that now needs to rise up and regain control over the internet”

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Category: European Action Week, National campaigns, Racism
Ruxandra Pandea
12 pm

“It is the young generation that now needs to rise up and regain control over the internet” said the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland in an interview to NRK Radio, a national broadcast radio in Norway.  The interview covers the No Hate Speech Movement at European level and the national campaign in Norway.

The Secretary General highlighted the fact that in one year of campaign around 40 member states have joined in, which makes the movement an important response. While this is not a ‘battle’ to be won, but rather a sustained continuous effort, the Secretary General explained that the aim is not to stop it or delete it, but to create so much awareness about hate speech, its causes and effects, so that it becomes culturally unacceptable: ‘You can’t remove what’s written online, but you are stating what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable and in this way more (e.n. young people) are “vaccinated” against what they see.’

Eirik Rise, the campaign coordinator in Norway, highlighted that the aim of the campaign is focusing on shaping the Internet together with young people to reflect an online culture that respects human dignity and human rights. The Norwegian campaign focuses on training online youth activists to respond critically and constructively to hate speech online.

Karoline Ilebekk, a researcher writing a Ph.D. thesis on the issues of online expression and media control, explained that : ‘It can be demanding and painful to go into discussion with someone who has a lot of hateful opinions and who obviously doesn’t change their opinion when met with what you believe is better arguments. It can also be unpleasant in the sense that people can stalk you in different fora’s online. Those who are provoked when you meet them with counter arguments can respond with hate and harassment’, but it’s worth the effort to show an alternative.

You can listen to the entire interview in Norvegian here.


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