A young journalist’s perspective

Two young journalists working for National Institute for Social Integration this June had a chance to participate in the training course in Southeastern Europe and to develop their skills working together with the Balkan media.

Young journalists from Lithuania, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey spent 8 days in Albania and participated in the training course “Vaccine Against Hate Speech on Media” which is sponsored by the Council of Europe. This training have strengthened the ability of young bloggers and students of journalism to indicate and respond to hate speech and raised public awareness in favor of marginalized and vulnerable groups. One of the main topics was “How to identify and respond to hate speech”. Therefore the youth got to know a few organizations that are based in Albania and is concerned with human rights, discussed various problems, humans’ needs and obstacles they might face, which strengthened participants’ ability to recognize the language of hatred.

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The participants also had a chance to meet the LGBTQ+ community in Albania and “Walk in my shoes” Roma youth organization. At the end of the workshops, the participants produced various media products that will be later used in the “No Hate Speech Movement” network in 44 European countries.

 

“During this training course I improved my journalism skills, critical thinking, and I had a chance to tackle the topic of hate speech which is very important in the modern world, we were learning to react to it and to  separate it from the freedom of speech. I also broadened my horizons, had a chance to communicate with different people, visit organizations and do practical tasks. It was a challenge for me not only to leave the comfort zone because of the training course itself, but also due to the cultural differences I encountered” (participant Ramunė)

“This training course not only expanded my view of the world itself, it also inspired me to fight against hate speech in Lithuania. Moreover, it helped me to discover the like-minded people that will remain my friends throughout my whole life. One episode that will always stay with me in my heart, I would even call it an epiphany, is when we met the leader of the Roma youth organization Hadroj Rami, and after his speech we all stood there hugging one another with tears in our eyes.  He is probably the most inspirational man I have even met in my life. (participant Monika)

The video of the first day you can see here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSCZcRh0eAU

What is hate speech?
This is a speech designed to offend a person or a group of people based on distinctive features such as race, religion, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. Unfortunately, there is an infinite number of examples where hate speech is attributed not as a crime, but simply freedom of speech.

In order to ensure human rights the Council of Europe Youth Department in 2013 established an international movement of young people which is called “No Hate Speech Movement” to undermine racism, discrimination, xenophobia and other forms hatred in the virtual space. The movement also deals with education and information concerning human rights, the education of young people and young journalists. “No Hate Speech Movement” also mobilizes young people to report hate speech and cyber-violence to relevant authorities and social media channels. You can report hate speech here – https://www.coe.int/en/web/no-hate-campaign/home. How to deal with hate speech?

  1. Do not target the author, but rather the content of the statement.
  2. Refute false claims where possible with facts. Refer to reliable sources.
  3. Express your disbelief and displeasure, but do not get involved in pointless ‘is-not’/’is-so’ arguments and mutual mudslinging and insults.
  4. Be aware that certain messages are published with the intention to provoke. So don’t let yourself get carried away in an emotional and hateful tirade – stick to a calm statement.
    (Unia • Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities)

Participants in “Vaccine Against Hate Speech on Media” during the discussions had the chance to try their hand at creating various media products, such as videos, articles, and photo collages. You can see the video which was created in order to fight bullying here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHqZSDjt-OQ .
Furthermore, this product was developed to show the real LGBTQ + community’s stories in Albania https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1XEH7273mI .
You can read more about Albania from a tourist’s perspective here – https://www.delfi.lt/keliones/per-europa/neirated-balkanu-salis-kurija-enera-turistup-follow-non-worthy-friendly-friendly.d ? id = 78826455 (Lithuanian language)

Monika Adomavičiūtė, Ramunė Vilkoitytė

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