Previous observations by different stakeholders, scholars, and organisations including #DefyHateNow have revealed that hate speech has had a detrimental effect in South Sudan. In as much as the monitoring of hate speech on social media platforms has equally revealed that South Sudanese are presently more cautious in their use of social media, there is no sure way of telling whether there might be a turn in the tide or the current status quo will remain.
There needs to be a permanent solution to confront hate speech in South Sudan so as to ensure that the peace South Sudanese are beginning to get used to prevails. This permanent solution can only be envisioned with the involvement of South Sudanese citizens as an integral part of the solution.
In order to win the war against online hate speech, South Sudanese, among other duties, have the following central roles to play:
- First and foremost, South Sudanese need to be aware of what constitutes online hate speech as well as how easily and when it can occur so that they can effortlessly recognise its presence online and act accordingly.
- South Sudanese can develop an open attitude and honest curiosity about different groups of individuals with backgrounds and views different to theirs because some instances of hate speech are based on ignorance or false information, designed to destabilize social order.
- Encourage empathy amongst citizens and online users to serve as a reminder that when engaging with others online, there is another person on the other side of the screen that might be affected by hate speech.
- Finally, South Sudanese can familiarize themselves with techniques to confront hate speech productively such as counter-speech, which is any direct reply to hateful or harmful speech which seeks to undermine it before it gathers momentum.
#DefyHateNow Reflection of the Week: How have you, personally, as a South Sudanese citizen, contributed to the fight against hate speech and misinformation? How can South Sudanese work together towards the common goal of confronting Hate Speech on social media?