Young People Combating Hate Speech Online is a Council of Europe youth sector project designed to combat racism and discrimination by tackling the online expression of hate speech. The project, to run from 2012 to 2014, is equipping young people and youth organizations with the competences they need to identify and challenge online hate speech whenever and wherever they come across it. It was devised by youth leaders on the Council of Europe’s Advisory Council on Youth and endorsed by the Organization’s Joint Council on Youth – a unique structure where youth leaders and government representatives make decisions side by side on youth policy, programmes and priorities. The project was conceived in response to and as a bulwark against the worrying rise of hate speech online. Central to the project’s philosophy is the idea that online public space should be subject to the same expectations regarding human rights as physical public space; human rights apply online just as they apply to the rest of society.
The project is mobilising those involved at European and national level through a variety of activities, including: training courses, the development of educational materials, national seminars and conferences. Central to the project is the European online youth campaign – the No Hate Speech Movement, which young people and youth organizations have both set up and implemented through national campaigns and initiatives which aim to be as close to young people as possible. Activities at national level are bringing together interested organisations and individuals to make national authorities and others aware of the need to take action.
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