Palestinian Journalists in Gaza Learn New Skills in Countering Hate Speech Through UNESCO’s IPDC


The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) concluded its training course on “countering hate speech in Palestine" for Palestinian journalists and media practitioners in Gaza in October 2018. The three-day training course was attended by 15 journalists from various media organizations operating in GAZA and was funded the International Program for the Development of Communication, UNESCO.


The training course aimed to combat hate speech in Palestine and to use  journalism as a conduit for promoting dialogue between different cultures and affiliations. It also aimed to raise the awareness of Palestinian journalists and media to build their capacity to confront and reduce hate speech in their stories.


A journalist from Falasteen Newsapper, Ms Aya Abu Khusa,  said, “It was a remarkable training course in which I learned about hate speech, its characteristics and its causes. I will apply the learnings through my work by moving away from terminology that embodies hate speech and focuses on terminology that promotes values of tolerance”.


This was echoed by Dr. Ahmed Hammad, coordinator of the MADA Center in Gaza, who said there was a strong need to combat hate speech in the Palestinian media. He further expressed the hope that the training course would achieve its goal of increasing the Palestinian media’s editorial quality, by encouraging discourse rejecting hate speech and instead, promote a culture of tolerance.


Dr. Zuhair Abed who conducted the training, referred to hate speech in the Palestinian media in particular, and the rejection of hatred in the society as a whole. The training course looked at how international and local laws aim to reject and criminalize hate speech, and how intergovernmental organisations like UNESCO focus on spreading a culture of tolerance, pluralism and respect for differences of opinion in Palestinian and global society.


The training had a strong impact on Mr Shadi Asfour, a journalist from the Al-Aqsa TV Channel, who took on board the importance of international laws, saying  “Through the hate speech training, I learned about its impact on society, as well as its causes and how to counter it through local and international laws. Since the training ended, I have already started to choosing carefully the terms and vocabulary I use in my stories”.


The journalists presented a series of recommendations to combat hate speech in Palestine. The most important of these included the promotion of a culture of dialogue and a rejection of a culture of hatred in Palestinian society through the values of freedom of expression.


The participants also agreed that the Palestinian media should abide by professional standards and not confuse opinion with news and respecting international norms and standards of what constitutes hate speech.


To find out more about countering hate speech, read UNESCO’s “Countering Online Hate Speech” by clicking here.


You may also like to read UNESCO’s new publication, Journalism, ‘Fake News’ and Disinformation, which touches on the subject of hate speech and online abuse. Click here.


To find out more about the projects supported by the IPDC, click here.


The International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. Since its creation in 1980, the Programme has successfully mobilized over US$110 million to strengthen the capacity of media in 140 countries.