Launch of campaign to combat hate speech in Kyrgyzstan

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06 September 2021
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Launch of campaign to combat hate speech in Kyrgyzstan

Election campaigns provide particularly fertile ground for hate speech and incitement to hatred. Political parties, candidates, opinion makers, and members of civil society can be influential spreaders of hate speech. Hate speech is also amplified by the media, in particular social media.

WFD and the Institute of Civic Development  have launched a campaign to challenge hate speech in Kyrgyzstan in the run up to the country’s parliamentary elections. The campaign aims to raise awareness amongst political parties, youth, and civic activists of what hate speech is and how to combat it.

Hate speech can range from ignorant discriminatory comments and offensive jokes to explicit calls for discrimination or violence against a group or individual people. Educating people on the dangerous and divisive nature of hate speech is important to increase society’s resilience to it.

The campaign focuses on seven regions, where representatives of political parties will take part in a number of exercises exploring how to identify and combat hate speech in election campaigns. The voice of young people will also be presented to political parties to outline the ethical behavioral expectation of youth from political parties during and after the election campaigns. Young people will develop an open statement during a series of discussions with youth and civic activists exploring measures to promote positive speech both on and offline.

At the same time, an online platform called education.kg will provide young people with information about electoral process, election campaigns and measures to recognize and challenge hate speech. This platform will serve as one of the mechanisms for increasing the motivation of young people to challenge hate speech and actively express their voice through voting.

The campaign will run until 20 October 2021 and is conducted within the framework of the Media Dialogue project funded by the European Union.