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 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.