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Hate Speech Mitigation Intervention in Benishangul-Gumuz, 2019 - 2020.

workshop in Benishangul-Gumuz, Ethiopia

in 2019/2020 the #defyhatenow project was in Ethiopia on hate speech mitigation intervention mandate in the Benishangul-Gumz region. The project aimed to  enable the establishment of community based peace-building initiatives to combat online hate speech and mitigate incitement to offline violence. In a context of inter-communal tension, lack of concerted peacebuilding efforts or consequent sustainable development strategies in this region of Ethiopia bordering Sudan, social media platforms are being used by numerous groups and individuals, including diaspora citizens abroad, to exacerbate long-simmering conflict. The spread of hate speech and incitement to violence in social media leads to attacks and violent clashes between ethnic, social or religious communities.

The strategic use of social media and a trained understanding of its mechanisms can help respond to and counter ‘fake news’, online threats and incitement to violence. Platforms including, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram, as well as collaborative open knowledge resources such as Wikipedia, can play an important role in mobilizing citizens in strengthening education and self-reliance, rather than leaving these spaces open to agents of conflict.

#defyhatenow Ethiopia combined the monitoring of root causes of conflict, socio-political tensions, regional cultural dynamics and social media conflict influencers with media literacy training towards civil society and policy-makers to mitigate conflict rhetoric and violence and enable a greater stability, inter-communal cooperation and economic development.

Production of publications and social media health reports, 2020 - 2021.

Understanding Ethiopia’s Hate Speech Law, Protecting Freedom of Expression

On March 2020, the Ethiopian House of Peoples’ Representatives adopted the controversial Hate Speech and Disinformation Prevention and Suppression Proclamation No 1185/2020. The law emerged in the backdrop of a string of deadly inter-ethnic clashes across the country, which the government was quick to link to viral speech and disinformation disseminated through broadcasting, social and print media.

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Social Media Health Report, December 15, 2020-January 15, 2021

This social media health report construes the monitoring conducted in the working days between the 15th of December 2020 through the 15th of January 2021. The Health Report is aimed at mainly assessing the key issues/grievances on social media, the overall dynamics of hate speech in the country, and what they mean for the socio-political development of Ethiopia.

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