Fighting hate speech is everyone's job
08 December 2022
Fighting hate speech does not represent limiting freedom of expression in an arbitrary or illegal way, but preventing hatred from escalating into discrimination, hostility and violence.
Podgorica, 8 december 2022
Dealing with hate speech was the central theme of the panel discussion "Silencing Hate" organized by the United Nations system ahead of International Human Rights Day, 10 December.
People who were targeted by hate speech because of who they are, what they do or because of the perception that they are different shared their experiences. Panelists and audience discussed possibille joint actions in facing the challenges that hate speech brings.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro Peter Lundberg, pointed out that Montenegro is experiencing an increase in hate speech and added that it is not the only country facing this problem.
“Unfortunately, we are witnessing the global growth of misinformation, fake news and divisive narratives that lead directly to discrimination, hate speech and even hate crimes. The scale and impact today, especially with social media as a global platform for spreading hate, is greater and growing faster than ever. This is why the United Nations adopted the Global Strategy and Action Plan on Hate Speech in 2019, within which we strive to, in cooperation with partners, take actions aimed at combating hate speech. Because the fight against hate speech is the job of all of us," said Lundberg, stating that fighting hate speech does not represent limiting freedom of expression in an arbitrary or illegal way, but preventing hatred from escalating into discrimination, hostility and violence.
The Minister of Human and Minority Rights, Fatmir Đeka, pointed out that Montenegro strives to maintain its European path and to improve respect for human rights as well as to persevere in strengthening tolerance and acceptance of diversity.
"Hate speech should be reduced every day, by turning to content which can contribute to our further education, general culture, raising awareness of essential things. By repeating what has been said, we give additional importance to negative streams.We need to continuously suppress negative phenomena in society. The catalysts of every change, good or bad, are we, ourselves," Đeka said.
The audience heard testimonies of panelists who were exposed to various forms of hate speech, among which were members of the Roma community, the LGBT community, persons with disabilities, women and others who were targeted by the hate speech.
"I'm afraid we're normalizing hate speech and that's what worries me a lot. Hate speech is, above all, humiliation and persecution of those who are different, and it is high time for this topic to be opened seriously," said Sabina Talović from Pljevlja, who was a victim of hate speech.
Human Rights Day is commemorated every year on 10 December 1948, when the UN General Assemblyadopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since then, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been the basis for a growing system that promotes and protects the rights of all people in the world.