The role of the media, the responsibilities of social networks, as well as legal tools and initiatives of civil society organisations to counter hate in the media were the main issues debated during the workshop organised in Rome on 20 and 21 November 2017, in the framework of the Media Against Hate project.
After the introduction by COSPE and the National Federation of the Italian Press (FNSI), a roundtable launched the 2-day event with presentation from Piera Mastantuono, (Carta di Roma), Francesca Fanucci (Article 19), Tom Law (Ethical Journalism Network), Laura Bononcini (Facebook) and Alessandra Mancuso (Equal Opportunities Committee FNSI).
The event gathered 25 participants from various EU countries (Italy, United Kingdom, Greece, Denmark, Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Cyprus, Portugal, Estonia, Finland and Romania) with the objective to improve their knowledge and capacity to counter hate speech and sexism. Italian journalists were also invited for the roundtable on hate speech, migration and journalism. A lively participation from the public showed how crucial the issue of hate speech is in the actual debate related to information and migration.
Tom Law (EJN) launched the workshop with a focus on the role of the journalists in preventing hate speech. He reminded the core values of ethical journalism (accuracy, independence, impartiality, humanity, accountability) and presented the EJN five- point test of speech as well as some of the important resources and tools on these issues.
The next day, Matteo Moretti (Dataninja – info) explored some of the possibilities and tools of data journalism as a way to counter hate speech. One of his project “People’s Republic of Bolzano”, winner of Data Journalism Award 2015, was presented in order to explain how visual journalism can be a precious resource to restore a more transparent and balanced information and debate.
The last session was dedicated to the importance of creating and managing a community in order to prevent and counter hate speech online. Being a journalist nowadays is as much about community building as about news reporting. Valentina Vellucci (Magilla Guerrilla) illustrated how to engage a community and use creativity and irony in order to face the hate speech online, for example with the visual netiquette she contributed to create at the Italian newspaper La Stampa on Facebook.
The journalists worked in groups and participated actively to all the sessions. They agreed that hate speech is a worrying and complex phenomenon and a collective commitment at cultural and educational level is needed to counter it, promoting at the same time freedom and participation which are major components of the Internet.