Presentation Dr. Agnès Callamard, Columbia University

Report
“More speech, Not less: Counter-Speech as a
strategy to respond to incitement to violence
and hatred”
Dr. Agnes Callamard, Columbia University
[email protected]
Ministerial Side Event
Towards inclusive societies:
empowerment and education as a
strategy to prevent genocide
United Nations, New York, 24 September 2014
Kingdom of Belgium and UN Office on Genocide
Prevention
Terminology and scope
• Hate speech covers a variety and a spectrum of
expression, some of which may be legitimate under
international human rights law
• Focus here is on the most serious Hate Speech, nonprotected by international law:
– That falls under article 20 of the ICCPR (incitement
to violence, discrimination and hostility) and under
the Genocide Convention;
– That is conducted on-line
• A six part test to distinguish harmful from less harmful
hate speech is relied upon:
Incitement Speech: ARTICLE 19 six part
test
1. The historical context of the expression;
2. The speaker (including his/her influence and position in the
society and community)
3. The intent of the speaker/proponent to incite
discrimination, hostility or violence;
4. The content of the expression (words, references, etc.)
5. Its outreach (including the audience and means of
dissemination);
6. The likelihood that the advocated action will occur,
including its imminence
What does Internet offer
Extremist Individuals or Groups?
The Internet offers easier, faster and inexpensive ways to:
• Connect
• Communicate
• Validate
– “provides a feeling of empowerment that comes from finding
out that feelings are widely shared”(1)
The Internet is an ‘echo chamber’:
• Where “individuals find their ideas supported and
echoed by other like-minded individuals”
• Where they create a collective identity, often across
borders, and a digital territory
(2)
A word on “communication”
• Ample evidence that hate and extremist groups
are now more sophisticated in use of
communication technologies but it varies across
groups and countries;
– 50% of 157 “hate” sites surveyed last year in the US included
multimedia materials (3).
– Recent ISIS videos demonstrate a thorough technical
knowledge and understanding of marketing - Lend Me Your
Ears and Grand Theft Auto 5.
• Important to distinguish between websites; chat
rooms; facebook pages; twitter; Instagram;
YouTube; SMS; etc.
What does the Internet offer Hate
and Extremism?
Far less evidence that Internet allows to:
• Mobilize/radicalize supporters
• Recruit members
• Train members e.g. in weapons’ use
• Organise action (acts of mass violence),
e.g. through bulk SMS
Physical contacts for recruitment and
radicalization …
• Internet is not a direct means of recruitment or
radicalization but facilitates both
– “chat rooms can be an engine of transformation
because they provide validation”(4)
• Real-world social relationships are pivotal.
– “the Internet can support and facilitate but never
completely replace direct human contact and the ties
of friendship and kinship through which intense
personal loyalties form” (5)
• Crucial role of the family; school/university;
church/mosque; and particularly prisons
On the effectiveness of blocking
content
Intelligence Experts concur:
• Systematic, large-scale deployment of take-down or
filtering measures is impractical, and even
counterproductive (6).
• Banning website or accounts is not very effective
although it may be disruptive
• The offenders relocate, rename or mutate… and so
does the incitement speech; eg Al-Shabbad Twitter
account;
– “The offence mutated… It was displaced to social media”,
including to Facebook (Kenya) (7)
It is necessary to engaging in the battle
of ideas through counter-speech to…
1. Denounce fundamentalist, extremist or
radical thinking
2. Provide alternative and progressive
interpretation
3. Bust myths, refute through counter-examples
4. Discredit (in particular rumors)
5. Plant ‘seeds of doubt’ (the reluctant radicals)
6. Highlight the risks linked to violence
Pre-conditions for an effective
engagement in counter-speech on-line
• A legal and policy environment and
practices that supports diversity and
pluralism;
• An active and able to operate civil society;
• Access to Infrastructure, free and open
source software ;
• Some degree of digital literacy (requiring
in turn digital education)
(8)
Examples of possible
counter-speech
•
•
•
•
Users-generated reporting and blocking;
Entire playlists on YouTube dedicated to Islam against Extremism;
New anti-Jihad YouTube animated series called Abdullah X,
US: Think Again Turn Away campaign
– launched in December 2013
– effort to enter the war of ideas and win hearts and minds of jihadists on
social media.
– Includes a twitter campaign, a video.
• EC: RAN @ focuses on areas where the largest gains can be made.
– Focuses on ‘positive’ rather than ‘negative’ initiatives.
– Seeks to develop frontline partnerships around collation
– Creation, and dissemination of counter- and alternative-narratives through
the Internet and social media.
Not to be confused with
Disrupting Speech
• In 2011, the ‘hacktivist’ collective, Anonymous
– Called on Internet users to upload altered copies
of Anders Breivik’s manifesto to prevent his
political ideas from influencing others.
• The UK governmenEffective counter-speech requires
strong community engagement, connection, etc.
• ‘Operation Cupcake’:
– MI6 replaced virtual copies of Al-Qaeda’s flagship
magazine, Inspire, with a popular recipe for
cupcakes
Assessment of possible counterspeech (based on 15 examples)
On the positive side
• Increasingly the extremist space is occupied and
challenged,
• By a range of actors:
– Governments
– Inter-Governmental organizations
– Social media
– Civil society
– Individuals
Assessment: on the positive side
• Even in countries where speaking out is
difficult, the counter-speech movement is
gaining ground:
– Myanmar: The Panzagar Movement
https://www.facebook.com/panzagar
– Pakistan: Messages from the mosque
http://imams.mashalbooks.org
– Kenya: range of initiatives on and off line
Assessment: on the positive side
• Solidarity with the victims of Hate Speech
• Active responses to the average hate speech
(not necessarily incitement): e.g. Response to
Hate Speech following the election of the first
Muslim Miss America.
• Hate Crimes posted on-line are denunced and
reported by viewers
Analysing counter speech and
their impact
Ideally counter speech intervention should include a reflection on
the following elements:
• Who should speak - The Messengers
• The objective/target/motivation (is the counter-speech seeking
to address Extremist information, or connection or validation or
recruitment, etc.)
• The audience targeted (specific individuals, groups, etc.)
• The content and message (text, images, videos, campaigns,
tweets, etc.)
• The means of dissemination (website, chat room, messengers,
facebook, etc.)
Assessment: limits and difficulties
• Some initiatives appear to have ticked many boxes but fail
in their sustainable outreach (9)
• Individuals denunciation can get it terribly wrong (Witch
hunt following the Boston Bombing)
• Too many initiatives or campaigns end up preaching to the
converted
• Videos: many are text heavy, not very exciting or fail to
find the right tone or balance compared to the
sophisticated videos of eg Jihadists
• Crowd sourcing: not necessarily smart and accurate
sourcing
Assessment: limits and difficulties
• Large number of initiatives
– Not thought out as part of a sophisticated communication
or marketing strategy
• No clear understanding of: the end user, the product to
communicate, the expected outcome, etc.
• Is the strategy to disrupt communication and
connection flows; offer alternative information;
provide alternative validation?
• Or prevent recruitment and radicalization and if so
evidence demands an off-line strategy.
• We are just at the beginning of the Journey…
Recommendation
Community and local kowledge
• Learning from the other (offline) world… The importance
of trust, local knowledge and “community”
• One-on-one digital method is designed to “overcome ingroup peer pressure, which can act as a significant barrier to
meaningful intervention” (10)
• EXIT Sweden:
– Grass-roots organisation - part- funded by the Swedish government
– Former violent extremists on staff
– Supports the rehabilitation of individuals who identify with neo-Nazi
movements.
– Recognises the importance of online community- bonding processes and
has begun to explore the potential of online engagement strategies
Recommendation:
Engaging difficult topics
• Anger related to perceived injustices
must be addressed
(11)
– Connects to current, ‘hot’ news items (12)
• Address topics extremists monopolize,
including “through accurate and nuanced
viewpoints targeting youth particularly
vulnerable to extremist ideology”
(13)
Recommendation
On the importance of Off line
intervention
• Australia: The National Imams Consultative Forum:
– NICF meets three times a year for a 2-day workshop
during which Imams are exposed to information and skills
relating to the radicalisation process, its indicators,
ideological drivers, and means by which to challenge
these drivers.
• UK: Bold Creative
– Creative design agency that piloted its ‘Digital Disruption’
workshops aimed at inoculating vulnerable youth against
online propaganda.
A role for Governments?
• Enable (through laws and policies) civil society efforts to design and
deliver alternative narrative campaigns;
• Enable a legal regime that promotes diversity and pluralism of
opinions and of the media, unhindered and equal access to
Internet, etc.
• Refrain from speech that directly or indirectly ostracize,
discriminate, and of course from hate or incitement speech
• Explore and deliver targeted alternative narratives on and off-line,
re-enforced by strong community engagement
• Ensure that messages are reinforced by government policies and
practices.
• Support evaluation, research – Counter-speech needs more
exploration and data
And let’s not forget some thorny
difficult questions
•The ethics of users reporting and censorship
•The implications (for democratic principles) of
Intermediaries content regulation/censorship
•What is the relationship between extremist ideology and
violent one? Between Radical Extremist Ideas and Radical
Violent Behaviors
•Is supporting the idea of terrorism a crime?
•How does one handle the official “extremist” ideology
espoused and practiced officially by a number of
countries around the world, some of which do export it
abroad through various other legal means, eg funding of
religious education, religious places of worship, etc.

similar documents