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Frontpage News 2012 Tackling hate speech online

Living together online
Conference: Living together online 27-28 November 2012

Tackling hate speech online

The EEA and Norway Grants are joining up with the Council of Europe for a conference on online hate speech in Budapest on 27-28 November.

With the appearance of new communication technologies and channels, including social media, publishing hate speech - expressions which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred based on intolerance) - has become easier and practically instant. A recent Council of Europe survey showed that:

• 4 out of 5 respondents have encountered hate speech online

• 2 out of 5 have (personally) felt attacked or threatened

• 1 in 20 have themselves posted hate speech

- If we let extreme and racist ideas and attitudes go unchallenged in our society, they can grow strong, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said in a video interview linked to the conference.

The EEA and Norway Grants cooperate with the Council of Europe in promoting the values of democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. As an increasing part of public discourse happens on the internet, these values also have to be promoted online.

Together with the Council of Europe, we are therefore gathering representatives from governments, civil society, research communities, traditional media, social media and web activists across Europe for a two day conference to discuss how to tackle intolerance and hate speech online while respecting freedom of speech.

Furthermore, we will work through the NGO Programmes supported by the EEA Grants in 15 countries across central and southern Europe, and other relevant programmes to raise awareness and mobilise action against cyber hate. We will also engage to improve reporting and documentation on hate speech and how to combat it.

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland and Norwegian State Secretary of Foreign Affairs Torgeir Larsen will be key speakers at the conference on 27-28 November.