11. Juli 2017

INACH Annual Conference 2017 – Vienna, 12 October 2017

Hate speech – the online threat to democracy

Internet, the modern environment for human interaction, is under attack. Social media, but also blogs, forums and news providers are increasingly becoming the domain of haters, deniers, liars and other trolls, creating an atmosphere where “truth” is becoming fact-free, and opinions are the new truth. 

Thus the Internet is playing a major rule in destabilizing democracies, while social media give haters great opportunities to push for their goals. Since there are only national laws in place to get at least illegal content removed, a lot of harmful and destabilizing content stays online or keeps circulating in other regions.

A recent monitoring with the active involvement of several INACH members on the implementation of the „Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online”, an agreement of the European Commission and Internet companies, has shown significant progress as removal rates almost doubled in comparison to a previous monitoring, but still: 40 % of notifications on illegal content remained online, and the situation with harm- and hateful content and its handling becomes even more complex.

New apps, games and forums offer more opportunities for a continuous spread of hate behind “closed doors”, not only preventive and protective measures can hardly adapt at that pace. Some countries have started to create new forms of relations with the (global) Internet Industry and treat them like new entities on the world map. Others react with harsh measures and regulate the use to an extent that it clearly contradicts the very democratic spirit of the internet as an exchange platform for all.

Therefore, we do not only need to continue to analyze the influence of social media from different perspectives, their role for democratic processes online and offline, the phenomena like ‘fake news’, the “use” of Social Media dynamics by right wing groups, racists, populists, radicals and (not so) ordinary politicians.

We now need to examine where we all stand! How we see our own role as civil society, but also the role of governments, the role of “classic” media with all their online channels and the Internet industry mitigating the deluge of hate that threatens to drown the Internet and severely impact on communication, democracy and freedom.

That’s why we dedicate our annual conference 2017 to the topic of “Hate speech – the online threat to democracy” where we aim to find answers to these questions and to present key outcomes to the OSCE Chairmanship Conference on Internet Freedom on October 13th.

INACH has a long-standing relationship with the OSCE and put the subject of cyber hate firmly on the OSCE-agenda in 2002, resulting in the High Level OSCE Paris summit in June 2004 on the relationship between racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic propaganda on the Internet and hate crimes. This brought the USA and the European participating states closer together on “real life”- effects of hate speech, which generated OSCE commitments, among others at the 12th meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in 2004 in Sofia, and at subsequent summits, which led to the tasking of ODIHR/TnD with supporting anti-cyber hate activities. These efforts were of great value to INACH as well as civil society. Last year, INACH took part in an expert discussion titled “Combating Hatred in the Social Media” at the Civil Society Pre-Conference to the OSCE Chairmanship Conference on Tolerance and Diversity in Berlin, where recommendations for the participating States were developed.

 

In our 15th year of successfully combating cyber hate we are hoping to put another chapter to the story of INACH.

 

Program:

 08:45  Registration
 09:15  Welcome by Philippe Schmidt, INACH Chairman, Claudia Schäfer, ZARA CEO) Suzette Bronkhorst (INACH secretary general) – introduction to the conference program
 09:30 Welcome note and input by Austrian State Secretary for Diversity, Public Employment  and Digitalization, Muna Duzdar 

Input by Iris Muth/ German Ministry for Family affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

 09:50  Keynote – Robert Feustel (researcher and author)
 10:15  Short Introduction to the workshops (moderators)
 10:25  COFFEE BREAK
 10:35  Start Workshops

 

WS 1. The Role of the State.

Two expert speakers/ representatives of the respective branch give a short overview on situation, measures and actions in their countries and impact, then questions and discussion on:

How do state actors see their own role and the role of Journalists, NGOs and the Industry? What solutions or ideas would they like to recommend?

WS 2. The Role of Journalism.

Two expert speakers/ representatives of the respective branch give a short overview on situation, measures and actions in their countries and impact, then questions and discussion on:

How do Journalists see their own role and the role of the State, NGOs and the Industry? What solutions or ideas would they like to recommend?

WS 3. The Role of Civil Society.

Two expert speakers/ representatives of the respective branch give a short overview on situation, measures and actions in their countries and impact, then questions and discussion on:

How do Civil Society Organizations see their own role and the role of the State, media and the Industry? What solutions or ideas would they like to recommend?

WS 4. The Role of the Industry.

Two expert speakers/ representatives of the respective branch give a short overview on situation, measures and actions in their countries and impact, then questions and discussion on:

How does the Internet Industry see their own role and the role of the State, NGOs and media? What solutions or ideas would they like to recommend?

 

 12:00  LUNCH
 13:15  Summary of the workshop results by rapporteurs and plenary discussion of the results
 14:30  COFFEE BREAK  (Drafting final recommendations)
 14:40  Summary, information on follow up and closing words
 15:00  END

 

Downloads:

INACH Annual Conference 2017

INACH Information Sheet

 

ZARA Newsletter