A group of journalists and beneficiaries of the “Combating hate speech in online media and social networks” project met on November 28 at an informal event to discuss about the results of the “The media doesn’t hate!” campaign and about project activities. Participants appreciated the usefulness of trainings organized by the IJC for journalists and website moderators, where they learned to address sensitive topics in the media while abiding by ethical standards and to moderate readers’ comments on portals and social networks, so as not to encourage discrimination and incitement to hatred.
Journalist Daniela Besliu, co-founder of Zugo.md, mentioned that after she participated in a training organized by the IJC, she tried to apply some lessons in practice. Thus, she developed rules for posting comments on the website, which are now followed by netizens and readers of Zugo.md.
In terms of how hate speech can be stopped or avoided, social activist Oleg Brega underlined that at different times the society can have different segments that are vulnerable to hate speech, so it is important to denounce such messages in order to diminish the level of hate speech.
Media law expert Olivia Pirtac said that Moldova currently has no legal framework that could sanction hate speech. There are some rules concerning discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity and other criteria, but they are not enough to identify and punish actions that instigate to hatred.
The IJC’s “The media doesn’t hate!” campaign included several activities. A group of moderators and journalists received training on moderation of online media content and correct media coverage of sensitive topics. To evaluate hate speech, the IJC monitored the comments posted by netizens on 15 information portals. Also, a group of students from journalism departments of the Moldova University of European Studies and of the Moldova State University were familiarized with how hate speech manifests and what sanctions the national legislation stipulates in this sense.
The event was organized as part of the “Combating hate speech in online media and social networks” project implemented by the IJC with the financial support of partner organization Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden.