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Tuesday, December 19 • 12:50 - 13:20
How Counter Narratives can help Pluralistic Democracy to florish online (WS109)

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Proposer's Name: Mr. Menno Ettema
Proposer's Organization: Council of Europe - No Hate Speech Movement
Co-Proposer's Name: Ms. Ruxa Pandea
Co-Proposer's Organization: Youth Department - Council of Europe
Mr. Menno, ETTEMA, Intergovernmental Organisation, Council of Europe Ms. Irina Drexler, Civil Society, PATRIR

Session Format: Flash Session - 30 Min

Country: France
Stakeholder Group: Intergovernmental Organizations

Country: Hungary
Stakeholder Group: Intergovernmental Organizations

Speaker: Ron Salej
Speaker: Ingrid Aspelund

Content of the Session:
The No Hate Speech Movement aims to mobilise young people to take action for Human Rights online. The how can vary but basically follows the same lines of action adopted by Human Rights actions undertaken in offline settings.
A new manual We CAN! Taking action on hate Speech through Counter and Alternative narratives with young people through Human Rights Education is launched March 2017. It, combined with the manual Bookmarks of the No Hate Speech Movement, educates youth to recognise and respond to hate speech constructively.
Working on Narratives has been the entree point for education for remembrance, democracy and human rights adopted at the Remembrance centre on Utoya Island, Norway. The centre was erected on the site Attack in 2013 in which 69 Norwegian youth lost their lives.

5 min: Introduction
There are many different forms of action that can be taken on Hate Speech. The ‘Model for taking action for Human Rights’ of the manual Compass (www.coe.int/compass), identifies: Legal action; direct action; Research and Information gathering; Lobby & Advocacy; Education; Awareness-raising; campaigning; counselling (incl. victim support). These forms of actions can be illustrated by one sentence examples from the No Hate Speech Movement in Ireland.

Presently the debate on taking action on hate speech seems to limit itself to two fronts:
1. Reporting and take down (legal action, often outsources, through the reporting tools of the Internet companies)
2. Use of Counter (and Alternative) Narratives

15 Minutes: Exploration: what are Counter and Alternative narratives taken examples from Utoya training centre and the No Hate Speech Movement
Using 2 illustrative video’s in buzz groups of 2 to 3 people the group will review the questions:
- What is a Counter Narrative?
- What is an Alternative Narrative?
- What makes a Counter or Alternative narrative a Human Rights Narrative?

10 Minutes: closing discussion
Participants can share from their practice and realities examples of using Counter and Alternative Narratives. The discussion can be structures around a few of these questions (tbc):
- Why and when should Counter and Alternative Narratives be used to take action on hate speech, is it preferred above reporting, if so why?
- How can counter and alternative narratives become a tool towards building a democratic internet space; what minimum criteria need to be provided and who should secure them?
- Who is responsible to develop; strengthen; promote: Counter & Alternative Narratives?
(civil society; national authorities; Journalist & media; Internet Businesses, specifically social media platforms; educators; individual users?)
- How can we ensure that Counter and Alternative narratives function within a human rights framework?
- How can we monitor and measure impact from the use of counter and alternative narratives.

Relevance of the Session:
The use of Counter Narratives as response to violent radicalisation is becoming a growing practice, in addition to reporting and take-down of ‘illegal’ hate speech. The role of the various stakeholders (National authorities, Internet business, Youth workers, Educators and broader civil society) in this process however remains unclear with most initiatives taken up by the civil society sector.

Counter and Alternative narratives can and should however play an important role in the shaping of our digital future. They can strengthen pluralistic and participatory democratic processes online if successfully based on a human rights framework. Their success (strength of the message; outreach and impact) depends on the commitment and support the work on narratives receives.

Civil Society and online activists in particular are developing their expertise and related educational processes. The role and involvement of Internet businesses and the regulatory role of governments needs to be reviewed.

Tag 1: Hate Speech
Tag 2: Human Rights Online
Tag 3: Counter and Alternative Narratives

Ron Salaj, Online activist and co-author of the We CAN! manual, will be able to explore with participants the structure and function of Counter and Alternative narratives.

Ingrid Aspelund, Programme coordinator at the European Wergeland Centre. She will illustrate how the educational programme at Utoya, on the site of the Hate attack killing 69 Young people at a summer camp, aims to strengthen support for freedom of expression and democratic participation using Counter and Alternative narratives.

All speakers, organisers and moderators and first time participants in IGF.
The profile of speakers reflects gender diversity, thematic expertise and different regions of the European continent

Onsite Moderator: Menno Ettema
Online Moderator: Anca Sendescu / Ruxa Pandea
Rapporteur: Irina Drexler

Online Participation:
The session will be announced through the social media channels of the No Hate Speech Movement (outreach Europe, Morocco, Mexico, Canada, and parts of India, Tunisia, USA.)

During the Session online participants can follow the short introduction and raise questions through the online moderator.
The discussion questions can be taken up by online participants in the IGF chat room linked to the session.
National Campaigns of the No Hate Speech Movement, and partner organisations in other parts of the world are invited to host a discussion session in their local community (before or during the IGF session) and feed in their findings. Potentially the No Hate Speech Movement online Community manager could host a Google Hangout session(s) with the remote community gatherings.

Discussion facilitation:
The session consist of three phases
1. Plenary introduction, this intends to give a quick baseline for all participants to start from.
2. Buzz groups with plenary feedback to explore Counter and Alternative Narratives. This method allows for involvement of the participants, group learning and joined exploration of the potential and challenges of using counter and alternative narratives. It helps break the ice, yet is still guided. Online participants can easily feed in their thoughts through the discussion board with the online moderator needs to summarise and vocalise to the participants in the session.
3. Discussion groups on challenges and way forward with working on Counter and alternative narratives. This method allows for more freedom for the discussion to go different directions and inputs from participant’s practices. 

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: No
Link to Report: 


0-5’: Introduction, short presentation of forms of taking action on hate speech and for human rights that exists in a democratic society.

5-20’: Exploration: what make Counter and Alternative narratives a human rights narrative supporting pluralistic democracy?, with illustrations from the No Hate Speech Movement and other campaigns and youth actions.

20-30’: closing discussion, sharing of practices and examples by participants


Session Organizers
avatar for Menno Ettema

Menno Ettema

No Hate Speech and Cooperation Programme Manager, Anti-Discrimination Department, Council of Europe

Tuesday December 19, 2017 12:50 - 13:20 CET
Room XXVI - E United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)