Strengthening Reconciliation Processes in Sri Lanka (SRP)

Insightful Quotes
"Criminalization or censorship is not the answer. More research is needed around what works."
Insightful Quotes
"Countries are not waiting. The ‘rush to regulation’ takes context out of the picture & leans towards an authoritarian bend."
Virtual Session 12

Social Media and Peacebuilding – Challenges and Opportunities I

Regulating Social Media – Curtailing Online Hate Speech or a Pathway into Censorship?

In view of social media’s role in the dissemination of hate & incitement to violence globally & as a platform to promote & build peace, this session drew on some recent crises such as the hate campaign against the Rohingya people in Myanmar, the Christchurch Mosque Shootings in New Zealand, & the anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka in 2018 & 2019, to explore the policy debate on regulating social media & peacebuilders’ initiatives vis-à-vis storytelling, M&E & capacity building.

Main Questions
  • How should the challenges of online hate speech and disinformation be approached at a policy level?

  • How can social media be used as a force for good in peacebuilding?

Main Theses, Thoughts and Ideas

The first session, which focused on the policy-level debate on regulating social media with specific reference to Germany’s Netz DG law, highlighted the need for context considerations, transparency, widespread public debate & multi-stakeholder involvement in lawmaking processes & in addressing the power imbalance therein. Dealing with the root causes of hate speech & incitement to violence i.e. human behaviour & social constructs at a national level was also deemed necessary.

This aspect was explored further in the second session which shed light on peacebuilding practitioners’ initiatives vis-à-vis content creation, M&E, & capacity building to increase social media literacy & awareness of hate speech trends. The discussion emphasized combining online & offline strategies for impactful interventions & the need for more research and M&E based initiatives in view of evolving global issues & social media being an evolving space.


Dr Kathryn Nwajiaku-Dahou
Overseas Development Institute (ODI), United Kingdom
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Dr Volker Köhler
Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, Germany
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Gabrielle Guillemin
Article 19
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Aaranya Rajasingam
Strengthening Reconciliation Processes in Sri Lanka (SRP), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
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Current Topics

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The FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum is a series of events on current and overarching challenges and trends in peacebuilding. With the Peacebuilding Forum, we want to provide future-oriented impulses for the development of peacebuilding and strengthen the visibility and importance of the policy field in its entirety.


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