Hate speech, role of new media in the prevention of mass atrocities

07 November 2012
Central European University – Budapest

Concept

Media can play a key role in advocating respect for human rights, preventing violence, building trust and promoting reconciliation. But they can also fuel tensions and disseminate hatred. Numerous examples from history show the responsibility of media in inciting genocide and mass atrocities.

The technical changes affecting media over the last 15 years not only trigger new challenges but provide possibilities for promoting responsible journalism and addressing incitement to violence and hate speech.
The Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities organized a Roundtable as a pre-event to the Fifth Budapest Human Rights Forum to discuss contemporary challenges in the field of media, in particular “new media”, to facilitate the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities.

The Roundtable provided an opportunity for academics, researchers, non- governmental organizations and representatives of international organizations to share experiences and best practices for international and local media activities and to create synergies for future cooperation.

Roundtable Report HATE SPEECH- THE ROLE OF NEW MEDIA IN THE PREVENTION OF MASS ATROCITIES

Programme of the roundtable

Welcome speeches

John Shattuck, President of the Central European University
Attila Zimonyi, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Gyorgy Tatar, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities

First panel: Role of the new media in the prevention of mass atrocities, peace-building and reconciliation

The panelists reviewed the significance and role of media and the impact of hate speech in the context of preventing violent conflict and mass atrocities. They exchanged views on the constructive influence and potential risks of new media forums (such as blogs, mobiles and social networks) in conflict situations. The participants were invited to identify some tasks for early warning and early action in the “new media” environment.

Moderator:  Istvan Lakatos, Human Rights Ambassador, Permanent Representation of Hungary to the UN Office in Geneva

Panelists:

Charles-Michel Geurts, Deputy Head of Division of Human Rights Policy Instruments, European External Action Service
Onur Andreotti, Administrator, Media Division, Council of Europe
Peter Molnar, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Media and Communication Studies, Central European University
Balazs Toth, Law Enforcement and Human Rights Programme, Hungarian Helsinki Committee

Second panel: Best practices in preventing or countering public incitement and hate speech in the context of  the prevention of mass atrocities

The panelists reviewed the international efforts and challenges, as well as shared best practices in addressing hate speech in regional context.

Moderator: Enzo Le Fevre Cervini, Director, Research and Cooperation, Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities

Panelists:

Andrew Stroehlein, Director of Communication,  International Crisis Group
Bernard Rorke, Director of Research, Open Society Foundation
Any Freitas, EU Institute for Strategic Studies
Ekkehard Strauss, Prevention Policy Planning, Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities

Third panel:   Approach of the youth in enabling the new media to counter hate speech

Contributions by students of the Central European University

Moderator: Peter Molnar, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Media and Communication Studies, Central European University

Conclusions

Gyorgy Tatar, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities