IGF 2020 WS #59 Everything you wanted to ask about Hate Speech but didn't

Time
Tuesday, 10th November, 2020 (10:20 UTC) - Tuesday, 10th November, 2020 (11:20 UTC)
Room
Room 3
About this Session
This session looks European policy and practice initiatives combating hate speech launched in past years to address the risks hate speech online poses to human rights and societies. It focused on three areas: Prevention Measures; Protection: Self & Co-regulatory approaches; Prosecution: use of national criminal and administrative legislation covering hate speech in the online environment. Through breakout groups participants will discuss promising practices.
Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Giulia Lucchese, Council of Europe
Organizer 2: Menno Ettema, Council of Europe - No Hate Speech Movement
Organizer 3: Irina DREXLER, Cybercrime Programme Office of the Council of Europe (Bucharest, Romania)
 

Speaker 1: Nadejda Hriptievschi , Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 2: Sejal Parmar, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Alexandra LAFFITTE, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Alexander Schaefer, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Bastiaan Winkel, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 6: Albin Dearing, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 7: Martin Mlynár, Civil Society, Eastern European Group

 

Moderator

Charlotte Altenhöner-Dion, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Online Moderator

David Reichel, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Rapporteur

Irina DREXLER, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Format

Break-out Group Discussions - Round Tables - 90 Min

Online duration reset to 60 minutes.
Policy Question(s)

Policy questions related to Trust, Media and Democracy:

  • Have the wide range of policy and practice initiatives launched by Governments, Industry and CSO’s in past years at international and national levels been able to address the risks hate speech online poses to societies within a human rights framework?
  • How can preventive measures (eg. education and awareness raising), protection (eg, content moderation, self-regulation, victim support), and prosecution (eg. reviews of criminal, civil and administrative codes, and mechanisms for their application) measures become further mutually reinforcing to uphold human rights of all internet users.
  • How can a multi-stakeholder dialogue be strengthened to help identify complementarity, gaps and conflicts regarding the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders in delivering a comprehensive response to address hate speech.

The strength of a comprehensive approach towards hate speech and its possible application is exemplified in General Policy Recommendation No. 15 on combating hate speech of the European Committee against Racism and Intolerance. This calls for a multi-stakeholder approach, where authorities and industry understand and play their part, as outlined for example in CM/Rec(2018)2 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the roles and responsibilities of internet intermediaries.

The break-out groups will be invited to give inputs to three main areas of concern addressed by the Committee of Experts in its deliberations.

  1. Preventive measures: Challenges and opportunities of non-regulatory initiatives, in particular awareness-raising, education, media literacy, general awareness, victim support and use of counter and alternative narratives are just a few of the range of tools that can build the resilience against hate narratives and empower victims and bystanders to act in solidarity with persons and groups targeted. What roles and responsibilities do different stakeholder have to address hate speech that is not illegal yet undermines trust in the internet and has a chilling effect on expression of targeted groups and public debate in a democratic society in general.
  2. Protective measures: challenges and opportunities of content moderation and related (self-) regulatory tools. Various approaches to the governance of online hate speech have evolved across Europe, and new self-regulatory approaches are adopted by companies. What can we learn from the experiences thus far? What do they tell us about the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders to deliver content moderation within a human rights framework? How can judicial oversight be ensured? Does regulation deliver effective redress for both persons targeted by hate speech and persons who’s right to freedom of expression are infringed?
  3. Prosecution measures: Challenges and opportunities around implementation of national criminal and administrative legislation covering hate speech in the online environment persist. Where adequate national legislation covering hate speech is in place, national authorities seem to struggle to implement these in the online environment for a range of reasons. Equally, internet platforms seem to struggle to align their global user guidelines with relevant national legislation and questions remain regarding respective roles and responsibilities. How to identify, document and take action on hate speech that violates national administrative, civil and criminal law.

The discussions between different stakeholders at this session provides an opportunity to exchange views on promising practices, opportunities and practical experiences gained in the different sectors and stakeholder groups. By identifying and discussing the diversity of concerns, including importantly, of representatives of groups who are targets of hate speech, those concerned about free expression, those providing internet services, those that seek to uphold the law in the online space, a better understanding of the complementarity of approaches and respective roles can emerge. This multi-stakeholder dialogue helps identify complementarity, gaps and conflicts regarding the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders in delivering a comprehensive response to address hate speech.

SDGs

GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Description:

A wide range of policy and practice initiatives have been launched in past years at international and national levels to address the risks hate speech online poses to human rights and societies. The responses launched by governments, industry and CSO’s range from preventive measures (eg. education and awareness raising), protection (eg, content moderation, self-regulation, victim support), and prosecution (eg. reviews of criminal, civil and administrative codes, and mechanisms for their application). Responses should be mutually reinforcing and uphold the human rights of internet users, as outlined for example in the Council of Europe Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users. The implementation of existing policies has, however, proven challenging. ‘Hate speech’ means different things in different societies and the cross-border operationalisation of content restriction policies amid the diversity of local contexts remains problematic. This is all the more so, as the right to freedom of expression and opinion must be upheld in all democratic societies. Governments, industry and CSO’s in determining their strategies to address hate speech need to balance different considerations. For example importance of judicial oversight of content moderation decision, but also the need to manage fast amount of online content on multitude of platforms. Long term gains of education to address hate speech will not address the need of victims to push back against discrimination and protect their human rights today. The Council of Europe is hosting this session to gather reflections and promising practices from participants based on their own experiences with the ongoing initiatives of governments, industry and CSO’s. What works? Who must be involved? How can democratically legitimised oversight over speech be ensured? These reflections will provide valuable input into the deliberations of a newly established inter-disciplinary Committee of Experts. The “Council of Europe Expert Committee on Combating Hate Speech” is tasked to prepare a draft Committee of Ministers’ recommendation on ‘a comprehensive approach to addressing hate speech within a human rights framework’.

This 60 minutes session will consist of three phases.

  1. An introduction to the concept of a comprehensive approach to combating hate speech within a human rights framework by one expert speakers. They will reflect on the opportunities and challenges of such an approach building on 1. Council of Europe standards and case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and 2. Experiences with practical tools and approaches developed by the Council of Europe and its partners (CSO, industry).
  2. Break-out groups to reflect on promising practices and opportunities to realise a human rights-based approach towards hate speech within the three main areas of intervention: prevention, protection and prosecution (see under issues). Each breakout group will be facilitated by content experts. Following a brief introduction, groups will be asked to: identify and review their own experiences and existing practices; reflect on a multi-stakeholder approach identifying roles and responsibilities; reflect on interaction between the three areas of intervention.
  3. The closing plenary will collect the feedback from the breakout groups. Participants will also receive information on the work of the Council of Europe Committee of Expert on Combatting hate speech and how they can engage. The session will be facilitated by the Council of Europe, with support from content experts who will facilitate the break-out sessions.
Expected Outcomes

The session will produce a summary report of discussions, which will provide valuable input to the deliberations of the Council of Europe Expert Committee on combatting hate speech.

The breakout groups will be facilitated by content experts, who will be instructed to provide 2 minute intro and facilitate a genuine exchange of experiences and questions between the break-out group participants. Participation will be encouraged by reference questions helping to frame breakout group discussions. The plenary summary will ensure that all participants gain understanding of the findings d from the different breakout group discussions.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The multi-stakeholder, multi-faceted approach to addressing hate speech is fully in line with the principles of internet governance processes, in line with the Council of Europe approach as outlined in the organisations successive Internet Governance strategy, as well as CM/Rec(2018)2 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the roles and responsibilities of internet intermediaries for example. The need for such a comprehensive approach is even more clear in regards to addressing hate speech, as outlined in for example in General Policy Recommendation No. 15 on combatting hate speech of the European Committee against Racism and Intolerance.

Relevance to Theme: Most forms of hate speech and their underlying hate narratives seek to justify and/or promote inequality and discrimination that undermines the opportunity of individuals or groups to fully participate and express themselves, including online. It tends to typically target those in society who already are in a situation of minority or exclusion. Hate Speech pulls up additional barriers for individuals and groups towards inclusion, and for them to fully enjoy the opportunities provided by the Internet. It can undermine their right to freedom of expression and non-discrimination, it can limit their full and equal participation in a (digital) society or community.

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool.

 

Agenda

10.20 – 10.35 (times in UTC)

Opening & Introduction to a comprehensive approach to combating hate speech within a human rights framework.

Speaker: Bastiaan Winkel, vice chair of the Committee of expert on Combating Hate Speech of the Council of Europe

Facilitator: Menno Ettema, co-secretariat to Committee of expert on Combating Hate Speech

10.35-11.05 (time in UTC)

Break-out groups

  1. Prevention Measures to address hate speech
    • Content questions:
      • Promising Practices in using preventive tools (eg. awareness-raising, education & Media literacy, victim support, use of counter and alternative narratives)
      • Roles of different stakeholders and improving cooperation and impact
    • Speakers: Martin Mlynár Youth Member No hate Speech Network & Albin Dearing, EU Fundamental Rights Agency
  2. Protection: Self & Co-regulatory approaches
    • Content questions:
      • Promising practices: what can we learn from the experiences with content moderation practices? Does it deliver effective redress for both persons targeted by hate speech and persons who’s right to freedom of expression are infringed? Is (judicial) independent oversight ensured?
      • Roles of different stakeholders and improving cooperation and impact
    • Speakers: Sejal Parmer,  Lecturer, School of Law, University of Sheffield & Alexander Schafer, Head of division for consumer policy in the information society,telecommunications and media law - Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection 
  3. Prosecution: use of national criminal and administrative legislation covering hate speech in the online environment.
    • Content questions:
      • Promising practices: Can national authorities implement national legislation on hate speech in the online environment. Equally, how do internet platforms align their global user guidelines with relevant national legislation.
      • Roles of different stakeholders and improving cooperation and impact
    • Speakers: Bastiaan Winkel, vice chair of the Committee of Expert of Combating Hate Speech & Alexandra Laffitte, Vice Chair of EuroISPA

11.05 – 11.20 (time in UTC)

Closing Plenary:

  • Summary feedback from the break-out sessions by note takers
  • Facilitator:  Menno Ettema
1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
Have the policy and practice initiatives of past years helped address the risks hate speech online poses
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

The approach taken to address hate speech need to be sensitive to the type of hate speech and its context. In line with UN Rabat plan of action there is agreement Hate Speech can fall in one of three categories:

  • Hate Speech that is illegal in line with international standards
  • “Hate speech” that is not illegal but harmful to specific groups and individuals based on protected characteristics.
  • “Hate speech” that is not harmful to a specific group but undesirable in a democratic society

The Council of Europe therefore promotes a comprehensive approach to combating Hate Speech, including in the online environment.

1. Preventive measures:

Education of all members of society & media literacy in the digital environment is key; Use of Counter narratives important, but our discourse needs to be made more accessible for the common people in the daily life. Challenge because the polarization of everything: the counter-narratives, social justice vs. the “more normal people”; People migrate to marginalized smaller platforms limiting their exposure to different points of view to avoid radicalization

2. Self- and Co-regulatory to content moderation: 

Regulation must differentiate between legal, illegal, and harmful speech. Mere deletion without prosecution is a problem. National task force against hate speech (involving social networks, internet associations and CSOs), and regulation has improves content moderation practice, but has its limitations.

3. Implementation of national criminal and admin legislation covering Hate Speech online:

Internet Service Providers cooperation with law Enforcement is essential for both sides but requires clear rules and clarity on how they should be applied. But regional or even world wide streamlining of regulations and definitions is needed.

6. Final Speakers

Martin Mlynár Youth Member No hate Speech Network

Albin Dearing, EU Fundamental Rights Agency

Sejal Parmer,  Lecturer, School of Law, University of Sheffield

Alexander Schafer, Head of division for consumer policy in the information society,telecommunications and media law - Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection 

Bastiaan Winkel, Coordinating Policy Adviser, Law Enforcement and Combatting Crime, Ministry of Justice and Security of The Netherlands & vice chair of the Committee of Expert of Combating Hate Speech of the Council of Europe

Alexandra Laffitte, Vice Chair of EuroISPA

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

Sexist hate speech is a major concern and persistent aspect of hate speech. It often intersects with other protected characteristics. 

The session maintained a balance regarding gender in line up of speakers, and ensured participation of a youth delegate from the No Hate Speech Movement/ network. Young persons and both men and women spoke during the breakout groups. 

8. Session Outputs

No Hate Speech Network, independent network established by national campaigns and activist of the No Hate Speech Movement youth campaign of the Council of Europe: https://www.facebook.com/nohatespeechnetwork/

Initiative: ‘I Am Here’: https://www.facebook.com/iamhere.intl

Digital Opportunities Foundation Germany: https://www.intgovforum.org/content/igf-2020-village-booth-26-stiftung-digitale-chancen

9. Group Photo
WS#59 All you wanted to ask about Hate Speech, but didn't yet.