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Combating Hate Speech in Cameroon – The Creation of an Anti-Hate Speech Creed

In its contemporary configuration, Cameroon is plagued by a multitude of tensions and conflicts manifested in diverse forms amongst which we can note an upsurge in hate speech, incitement to violence and mis/disinformation. With the specific case of hate speech, it is worth noting it has damaged a lot of relationships, caused and escalated a lot of conflicts both at local and national levels resulting in unbearing consequences from the nuclear level of the society to the learning strata which is the school milieu.

It is common practice and occurance to have tensions and violence between students, teachers and between students and teachers due to hate speech fueled especially along tribal and political lines. This is a problem that if not addressed through citizenship education, sensitisation with peace building instruments like creeds, the vicious cycle would be far from abated. It is based on the problem posed by the misuse of words offline and online especially by youths, that the #defyhatenow initiative aims to raise awareness of and develop means for countering social media based hate speech, conflict rhetoric and directed online incitement to violence, by educating youth on the damaging effects of hate speech through the production of an Anti-hate speech Creed in collaboration with state institutions, civil society leaders, youth, academia and students to be disseminated in schools from primary, secondary and higher education level.  

The purpose of this creed is to promote unity, understanding, and respect among people of different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. It serves as a reminder that all individuals have the right to express themselves freely, but not at the expense of others. It also aims to educate and raise awareness about the consequences of hate speech and encourage individuals to think before they speak. This creed is not meant to restrict freedom of speech, but rather to promote responsible and respectful communication. It serves as a guide for individuals to use their words in a positive and constructive manner. We believe that by adopting this creed, we can create a culture of tolerance and understanding in Cameroon.

To prevent hate speech from causing harm, we need to promote a culture of respect and tolerance. This is where the Anti-Hate speech creed comes in. It is a set of principles and values that everyone should abide by to promote a peaceful and inclusive society. These principles include respecting diversity, valuing the opinions of others, and rejecting any form of discrimination or violence.

The Anti-Hate speech creed should also emphasize the importance of responsible and ethical communication. This means being mindful of the words we use and the impact they may have on others. It also means fact-checking information before sharing it and not spreading rumors or false information that can incite hate. In addition to promoting a positive and respectful culture, the Anti Hate speech creed should also outline consequences for those who violate it. This can include education and training on the harmful effects of hate speech, as well as legal consequences for more severe cases.

Implementing an Anti Hate speech creed in Cameroon will not be an easy task. It will require collaboration and commitment from all sectors of society, government, media, education, and individuals. But by working together and promoting a culture of respect and tolerance, we can create a safer and more united society and school environment for young people too. 

Words have the power to either build or destroy. Let us use them wisely and promote a culture of respect, tolerance, and inclusivity through the production and implementation of this Anti -Hate speech creed in Cameroon. Together, we can make a difference and create a society where hate speech has no place. Let us strive for a Cameroon where all voices are heard and respected, and where diversity is celebrated.
Hashtags: #defyhatenow  #NoToHateSpeech   #NoToHate #PeaceBuilding  #HateFreeCameroon #Act4Peace

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