Building peace in the minds of men and women

Addressing online hate speech in South East Europe and Turkey

“Addressing online hate speech in South East Europe and Turkey: the role of media accountability mechanisms” is the title of a regional conference that UNESCO is organizing on 17 October in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will be preceded, on 16 October, by a one-day national roundtable for media stakeholders on a similar topic.

The regional conference in Sarajevo is organized in the framework of the joint EU-UNESCO project, Media Accountability in South East Europe, in partnership with the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM) and the Sarajevo Media Centre. The event will provide a forum for discussion on the challenges faced by media in South East Europe in addressing the issue of hate speech in their online editions. Discussions will be based on the final results of a regional survey on the topic. Previous drafts of the survey were discussed during national events organized in each of the project’s partner countries from May to October this year.

Topics for discussion include the current stage of development of media self-regulation mechanisms in the region, and the non-legal measures adopted by media in South East Europe to address hate speech and promote a culture of tolerance and mutual respect online and offline.

The event will possibly gather over 80 participants, including international and national media experts, as well as journalists, academics and civil society representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Kosovo (administered by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244).

Conference participants are expected to adopt recommendations to reduce hate speech in online media through the strengthening of media accountability mechanisms, based on international and regional best practices.