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Slovakia: New campaign warns of the link between online hate and real-world extremism

11.7.2016 20:13
The logo for the campaign called
The logo for the campaign called "Saying 'but' won't hide the hate" ("Ale hejt neskryje") by the Open Society Foundation in Slovakia, 2016. (PHOTO: www.osf.sk)

At the end of last week the Open Society Foundation (OSF) in Slovakia launched a new campaign against hate and the sharing of hateful content online. The campaign slogan is "Saying 'but' won't hide the hate" ( "Ale hejt neskryje").

The campaign links hatred in the online world to real-world extremism in society. OSF Slovakia believes people frequently downplay the significance of the words they use and do not see their impacts.

"This year we have decided the campaign will send a clear, strong message warning about the negative influence of hate and its connection to extremism in our society. The campaign is comprised of three videos that will gradually be released," OSF Slovakia has posted to its website.

"We frequently attempt to use that little word 'BUT' to cover up or excuse hate," says Ľubica Stanek, campaign director. [Translator's Note:  A well-worn phrase used in the Czech Republic and Slovakia is "I'm not a racist, but...", followed by a racist statement.]

"That doesn't work, though. Hate is hate, a stupid insult lacking in argument and most of the time without any deeper knowledge or empathy," Stanek said.

Publicly-known figures in Slovak society, including authors, are warning that there is a connection between hate in the online environment, real-world impacts of that hatred, and the dissemination of extremism. The public figures include, for example, Slovak ombudsperson Jana Dubovcová, author and commentator Michal Havran, Jr., blogger Samuel Březen and author and commentator Michal Hvorecký.

"Using the right to freedom of speech cannot interfere with other rights such as the right to dignity, to honor, and to one's good name. That doesn't just apply to official statements in traditional media, but also to the entire online space, including social media," the ombudsperson points out in her blog.

All of the campaign blog posts in full, as well as more information about the campaign, can be found at www.alehejtneskryje.sk. It is a continuation of the previous activities of OSF Slovakia in this area.

Previous campaigns entitled "Say It To My Face" (Řekni mi to do očí) and "I DON´T #MASTURHATE" both targeted the dissemination of hateful commentaries and other hateful reports through the Internet. The "Say It To My Face" campaign, on which OSF Slovakia collaborated with the MME agency, won many awards such as the Silver Nail in the category of "Creativity in PR" and a Bronze Nail in the category of Film, as well as a Bronze EFFIE Slovakia 2015 in the category of "Philanthropic Marketing" and the Bronze Nutcracker prize from the Art Directors Club Czech Republic.

voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Internet, campaign, OSF Slovakia



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