Since online hate speech is a worrying and complex phenomenon, which has deep cultural and social roots and brings new questions and challenges to the issue of freedom of expression on the web and because only a collective commitment at the cultural and educational level can be the basis to counter it, promoting at the same time freedom and participation. It is clear that hate speech must be balanced out with peace and reconciliation texts and speech especially in presenting migrants, ethnic and alternativeness in order to build up the ground of acceptance and respect to the other entity. Standard phrases stemming from past animosity and ethnic propaganda are used extensively in the mass and online media when referring to “the other side”. Cyprus is sunk in a complicated composition of interest added on top of the internal short-sighted power games. Communities in Cyprus are urged to evaluate the dangers involved and realize that the only way to disassociate Cyprus from the surrounding conflicts and ensure the future of peaceful life on the island rests with attaining peace and settlement in Cyprus. For this, it is necessary to foster an environment where everybody is able to express their opinions but it is crucial that media and people take a stand and show that hate speech cannot be tolerated.
With this aim, on 26 and 27 October 2019, IKME (Sociopolitical Studies Institute) in association with organizations and actors across Cyprus has co-organized the final conference at Agros Village calling for Cypriot Citizens Mobilization and Action against Hate Speech with presentations, lectures and discussion on the themes concerning combating hatreds speech in relation to the spirit of the project Silence Hate and the issues released by the introduction frame.
Many the panels addressed to the participants: the role of mass media in Cyprus for combatting hate speech, the political media landscape, current hate speech issues on social media and the ways to prevent and reverse hate speech, focusing on materials and results produced by Silence Hate’s EU-funded project.