QCEA Anti-Migrant Hate Speech report

September 2018: The report in full here http://www.qcea.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Hate-Speech-Report_final.pdf

Recommendations: 

Governments: 
• Adopt and effectively implement relevant legislation that includes preventive and punitive action to combat incitement to hatred, while making sure that restrictions to freedom of expression are legal, proportional and necessary.
• Adopt policies and better enhance engagement in broad efforts to combat
negative stereotypes of, and discrimination against, individuals and communities on the basis of their nationality, ethnicity, religion or
belief. This includes:
− Promoting intercultural understanding.
− Training police and other criminal/community justice agency staff.
− Creating and/or properly funding equality bodies.
− Investing in better data collection as regards monitoring/logging hate crime.
− Providing clear mechanisms that encourage victims and witnesses to report hate speech, including through third-party reporting systems.
− Providing support to, and investing more in, civil society organisations’ initiatives, like those highlighted in the previous section of this report.

Political Parties
• Adopt and enforce ethical guidelines
in relation to the conduct of their
representatives, particularly with respect to
public speech.
• Seek to engage migrants and refugees in
political life.

Internet companies
• Include international standards on freedom of expression and due process in terms and conditions and community guidelines.
• Provide transparency and clarity on the decision-making processes on content removals on platforms.

The media
• Design and promote guidelines and ethical standards in the media for journalists and media managers. On all issues, notably migration, the media need to report in a contextual, factual and sensitive manner,
while ensuring that acts of discrimination are brought to the attention of the public. This includes:
− Raising awareness of the harm caused by discrimination and negative stereotyping.
− Giving mebers of different groups or communities the opportunity to speak and to be heard in a way that promotes a better understanding of them, while at the same time reflecting their perspectives.
• Apply the five-point test of speech for journalism, developed by Ethical Journalism Network, which is based upon international standards. It highlights some questions to be asked in the gathering, preparation and
dissemination of news and information that will help journalists and editors place what is said and who is saying it in an ethical context.
• In moderating an online community, content publishers could use the following strategies:
− Provide clear and transparent terms and conditions and community guidelines, together with user-friendly reporting mechanisms.
− Pre-moderate or actively moderate comments, in order to remove hate speech as and when it is identified.
− Limit user-led discussion to a dedicated ‘debate’ section which can be the focus of moderation activity.
− Use a content management system that allows the detection of hate speech-related words (“forbidden words”) and flags such comments for moderation.
− Showcase good practice by users.
− Close problematic comments sections.

Conclusions:
Throughout history, the ‘fear of the other’ has been exploited by
those who can benefit from doing so. Old prejudices and current
tensions are manipulated in order inflame suspicions and reinforce a
sense of division between people. With time, such feelings can spill
over into discriminatory language in conversation, in the media or
on the internet. When these words become particularly violent or
dehumanising, we often refer to them as hate speech.

Hate speech against ethnic, religious or social minorities is a
phenomenon as old as humanity itself, and today Europe finds
itself gripped by a fear of the other once again. An unprecedented
flow of refugees, the ongoing threat of violent extremism and
continued economic disarray have created the anxiety and political
disillusionment in which prejudice flourishes.

Violent speech, left unchecked, can lead to violent acts. In the past,
Europe learned this lesson the hard way, and created rules and
institutions designed to protect against a repeat of past mistakes.
Nowadays, however, the anonymity and immediacy of the internet
have created new and incredibly efficient ways for hate speech to
spread. This is particularly true in the case of hate speech against
migrants and refugees. Europe’s policymakers and institutions are only
just beginning to grapple with the scale of this challenge, but legal and
political responses have – so far – proved insufficient.

Regulation of the internet is famously difficult, and arguably
undesirable; there is also a risk that a purely political solution to this
problem will be seen as censorship. Instead, we propose that civil
society can respond to violent and dehumanising speech online with
more efficacy than the authorities acting alone. As such, this report has
not only given an overview of the relevant laws and policies adopted
at the European level, but has also outlined existing initiatives which
seek to tackle anti-migrant narratives in the hope that they will receive
greater attention and support.

Tackling online hate speech will involve a combination of policy,
legislation, media regulation, civil society initiatives and the work of
international organisations such as the Council of Europe (CoE) and the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). However,
our capacity to overcome the fear of the other ultimately depends
on our collective will to build truly inclusive and resilient societies, in
which the politics of division can no longer find a home.