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December 7, 2021

 

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Czech Foreign Minister: Whatever is a crime offline in terms of hate speech must be considered a crime online as well

27.10.2021 7:24
PHOTO: Stacey MacNaught, Flickr.com
PHOTO: Stacey MacNaught, Flickr.com

On Wednesday, 13 October, a one-day International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism was held in Malmö, Sweden, and its main subject, according to the Associated Press, was the question of how social media are contributing to the rise of antisemitism globally. Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Jakub Kulhánek was of the speakers, and according to the ministry he spoke in favor of ensuring accountability and safety in the online environment and presented the Czech Government's commitments for improving the situation.

"It is essential to ensure the accountability and the safety of the online environment. Simultaneously, the amount of time between the occurrence of antisemitic, hateful speech on the Internet or through social media and the elimination and punishment of such speech must be shortened," the head of the Czech diplomatic corps said.

"What is criminal offline must be criminal online," the minister said. He then presented three commitments through which the Czech Republic seeks to improve the situation in the fight against antisemitism: The first is to create a Czech National Strategy for Combating Antisemitism, the second will be the official opening of the Memorial of Silence (Památník ticha) as a state contributory organization, and the third will be to hold an international conference on the Terezín Declaration as part of the Czech presidency in the Council of the EU in 2022.

"All over the world, antisemitism is dangerously growing, mainly due to new social media," warned Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai in Stockholm. Social media companies, according to Shai, "incite and increase hatred, and they must take responsibility for doing so and not remain in their so-called neutral or objective position on this." 

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, then declared that the European Union must lead the fight against antisemitism. Michel said that in his view, remembrance of the Holocaust is not enough. 

Antony Blinken, Secretary of State of the USA, joined the event by video conference and announced, among other things, that the United States is allocating one million dollars to combat antisemitic speech on the Internet in the Middle East and North Africa. "Our priorities include condemning and eliminating antisemitism; ensuring the physical security of Jewish communities; support for education about the Holocaust, especially among young people; protection of religious freedom; and urging countries to combat hate speech on the Internet with even more determination," Blinken said. 

The event was also attended by the Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. This year's forum was the continuation of an event held in the year 2000. 

On that occasion Czech President Václav Havel represented the Czech Republic in Stockholm. That conference resulted in the adoption of the Stockholm Declaration and the birth of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Antisemitismus, conference, Extremism, Government of the Czech Republic



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