On June 14, the KOSINT 2020 project team organized an advocacy initiative with the topic of understanding and prevention of hate speech, discrimination and stereotypes. In this event were present representatives of Municipal Education Directorates, members of school councils (teachers, students and parents).
The advocacy initiative was organized as an interactive lecture on the recognition of definitions of freedom of expression and hate speech. During the lecture the domestic and international legislation on both fields were presented, and the distinction between hate speech and hate crimes and how they are understood and interpreted by different legislative acts in different countries of the world was explained. In addition to the presentation in regards to the subject, we also read and discussed some real-life statements that were given by victims of hate speech and hate crimes. In addition, three case studies were used, where participants were divided into three groups to give their opinions each to their own group.
In order to see the participants' knowledge about freedom of expression, hate speech, initiation of hate and hate crimes before the lecture, basic questionnaires were filled out with five questions by participants.
The questionnaires revealed that the majority of the participants had lack of general knowledge regarding the topic.
- On the first question: “What is hate speech”, the 80% of the responders answered wrongly and only 20% had the correct answer.
- On the second question: “What is incitement of hatred”, only one of the responders partially gave a correct answer.
- On the third question: “What is freedom of speech”, only 30% of the responders new what freedom of speech is, out of which only two of them interlink the definition with the legal legislation.
- On the fourth question: “What is discrimination”, majority new what it is, but only two of them linked the definition with the legal infrastructure.
On the last fifth question: “What is a hate crime”, only one responder partially new what it is but couldn’t specifically explain it and he couldn’t connected to the existing legal legislation.