IGF 2019 WS #332 Community organization and engaging ICTs to counter hate spe

Organizer 1: Sadaf Khan, Media Matters for Democracy
Organizer 2: Gayatri Khandhadai, Association for Progressive Communications
Organizer 3: Talal Razza, Media Matters for Democracy

Speaker 1: Sadaf Khan, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Henry Koh, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Anriette Esterhuysen , Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Ahmed Shaheed, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Policy Question(s): 

Regulation for rights and democracy: What is the impact of the use of offline regulating on hate speech and religion to online spaces and how can we regulate the internet in a way that protects users and their rights? What are the problems with including blasphemy related provisions in ICT laws?
Policy making for inclusive societies: What are the impacts of restrictive laws and practices that prevent and criminalise the mobilisation of people in online spaces towards political participation and countering hate speech?
User participation in governance: How can we ensure that users are able to understand and unpack issues relating to hate speech and the laws that given them? What is needed, besides laws and regulations, to esure the inclusion of diverse voices online towards building and preserving secular and democratic discourses online?

Relevance to Theme: ICTs are central to the exercise and advocacy of human rights. One of the key challenges that undermines a host of rights, including the right to life and safety of individuals has been the rampant spread of hate speech and call for violence on the basis of religion. States have tried to address this through regulation and civil society through mobilisation. Users however, have been the generators and receptors of hate speech and intimidation. Data governance must address protection of rights and the user. This session will look at what the key challenges in addressing hate speech are and unpack how people and civil society has been getting around the hurdles. Ultimately, this session will result in the advancing of a better understanding of challenges and possible solutions through and beyond regulation.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The session looks at the role of the 3 key actors, namely state, private sector and civil society. It also brings in the fourth element of users voice, which is often lacking in governance discussions. Through out the session the discussion will be around what international standards apply to hate speech online are, what is the problem with including blasphemy provisions in ICTs are, what practical challenges civil society face, what has been the role of private sector in exacerbating the problem and what they could instead do, and finally an understanding of what users have been doing to challenge hate speech across the globe. The highlights of these discussions will feed into a common understanding of what is needed and what is not working in the regulation and addressing of hate speech online towards more inclusive internet governance.

Format: 

Birds of a Feather - Auditorium - 90 Min

Description: One of the strongest and most striking features of our societies is its rich diversity in cultures, traditions and religions. However, oftentimes this very strength is turned around and is weaponised by extreme groups. Organised execution of hate campaigns against religious minorities, rationalists, atheists, women, LBGTQI persons has become a common occurrence in Asia, Africa and other regions. Artists and journalists are repeatedly targeted for their expression which may seem to challenge religious institutions and undemocratic practices. The overt and covert support from state institutions and representatives to these cyber armies has placed their safety and freedoms at grave risk.

Several movements are emerging online and people are taking to online spaces, despite the risks to express their dissent on political, social, cultural and economic issues. Women and LGBT communities find new partnerships everyday to push back and reclaim their spaces.A few states have also recognised the danger of surrendering the internet to authoritarian and divisive forces. Local communities have been developing community networks to regain control over infrastructures towards alternatives and owing transformative technologies. The UN Human Rights Council and other mechanisms have sustained attention on ensuring that human rights offline are also enjoyed online. The upcoming report by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedoms of assembly and association addresses the digital age and the exercise of assembly and association.
This session will look at how hate speech campaigns are carried out against people and communities, what the impact of it has been and how are communities organising to push back and reclaim spaces using ICTs. The session will also address the efforts made by state and private sector through regulation and content moderation.

They key questions for discussion are:
What is the impact of hate speech online on people and communities?

How is offline and online regulation used to address hate speech and religion to online spaces?

What are the problems with including blasphemy related provisions in ICT laws?

What are the steps taken by civil society to address this and what are the hurdles they face?

How are users perceiving the execution of coordinated hate campaigns and what are they doing to challenge and counter hate speech?

What do users want and how can we help the discourse towards more inclusive and secular societies online?

Format:
The session will start will a 2 minute briefing by the moderator which captures the background and objectives as well as the rules for the session.

This will be followed by 7 minutes intervention by Sadaf Baig on the situation of media and journalist targeted online for covering issues that may touch upon religion and blasphemy regulations. This will be followed by Anriette Estherhyuesen talking about the role of private sector and the space taken up by extremist and fundamentalist groups in online spaces in Africa for 7 minutes. This will be followed by a sharing of reflection from Pax Pena on how women and LGBT groups have been using the internet and creative content to push back against fundamentalist groups for 7 minutes. Kavitha Kunhi Kannan from Facebook will discuss the challenges that private sector faces in countering violent extremism and hate speech for 7 minutes. Finally, Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom of religion or belief will talk about his last report to the UNHRC and his next reports on this subject for 7 minutes.
This will be followed by a 8 minute presentation of a video documentary on the different online movements in the regions and snippets of interviews by Henry Koh.

This will then form the basis of an open engagement for 45 minutes with the audience on what their experience at the national level has been with popular movements using ICTs to advocate for more inclusive societies. Some of the guiding questions for the discussion with audience are:
What other popular online movements exist in your context?
What are the major barriers for individuals using online spaces to counter and resist hate speech?
Who are the actors targeting those involved in campaigns online?

Expected Outcomes: The outcome and discussions from the session will feed into a research that MMfD and APC are working on to document counter movements online which will also involve a documentary.
The recommendations will feed into policy briefs that participants and other organisations that advocate with states and private sector.
The session will lead to a cross regional sharing, ultimately result in coalitions supporting each other in campaigns to counter hate speech.

Onsite Moderator: 

Gayatri Khandhadai, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator: 

Talal Razza, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Rapporteur: 

Gayatri Khandhadai, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Discussion Facilitation: 

Half of the session time is dedicated to interaction with audience. The formal presentations are concluded with a 8 minute presentation of a video documentary on the different online movements in the regions and snippets of interviews by Henry Koh.

This will then form the basis of an open engagement for 45 minutes with the audience on what their experience at the national level has been with popular movements using ICTs to advocate for more inclusive societies. Some of the guiding questions for the discussion with audience are:
What other popular online movements exist in your context?
What are the major barriers for individuals using online spaces to counter and resist hate speech?
Who are the actors targeting those involved in campaigns online?

Through out the session a facilitator will be capturing key words and issues in an artistic form that will be available for viewing by all.

Online Participation: 

As is the practice in sessions organised by MMfD and APC in the past IGFs, remote speakers who want to join and participants through the IGF platform will be managed by the online moderator. The key questions coming up from the session and points will be inputted by the online moderator and the visual aid will be captured repeatedly for online participants to add to.

Proposed Additional Tools: Throughout the session #IGF2019 will be used and so will #ChallenegHate. We will set up systems for anonymous and audience questions and comments to be streamed and displayed as the meeting progresses. Throughout the session, a dedicated communications person will be available to facilitate online participation and to increase the visibility of the session and IGF among the networks of the co-organisers. This person will also be working on the visual aid for the whole session towards setting up the chart that identifies key issues raised.

SDGs: 

GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals