NHRC Validates Study To Mitigate ‘Rising’ Hate Speech

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The National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) on Wednesday 3rd July 2024 validated a study that seeks to give a clear picture of the prevalence of hate speech and its impacts on society.

Hate speech, accordingly is any kind of communication forms ( speech/writing) behaviour that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language directed to a person or group on the basis of who they are.

The validation of the study is based on research on the nature and complexities of hate speech. It also aims to give stakeholders (NHRC) possible recommendations on the evidence.
The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Emmanuel Daniel Joof said that the
NHRC in the exercise of its mandate regularly scan both the print media and social media and also frequently issues press releases and engages actors to counter hate speech when instances arise.

He disclosed that stakeholders including the NHRC have not been able to effectively address the growth of hate speech either due to capacity gaps, insufficient data or the complexities involved.

The research commissioned by the UNDP in 2021 and conducted by the Gambia Press Union and the University of the Gambia, reveal that most hate speech has been channeled through on Facebook and WhatsApp platforms.

The Head of Communications and Information at UNESCO, Michelle Elvis Kenmoe said the initiative aligns with the UN strategy and plan of action of hate speech.

“It is worth recalling the four main principles underpinning the strategy and guiding our intervention to counter hate speech is the respect for freedom of expression and opinion. In order words, countering of hate speech shall not hamper freedom of expression and opinion. The effective countering of hate speech required the engagement of all– government, civil society organizations, media, academia, all can play a role in countering hate speech,” he stated.

The study hopes to provide an insight regarding the drivers of hate speech, how to identify hate speech and its impact on society and how to counter and mitigate its negative consequences.

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