Training workshops on preventing hate speech take place across Kyrgyzstan

People sitting around a table
08 October 2021
Training workshops on preventing hate speech take place across Kyrgyzstan
Training workshops on preventing and combating the use of hate speech for youth and civic activists took place in all regions of Kyrgyzstan from 6th – 23rd September 2021. Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), jointly with the Institute of Civic Development held these events in the run up to the country’s Parliamentary elections within the framework of the Media Dialogue project funded by the European Union.

The training provided a broad picture of how to identify and recognize hate speech, key concepts related to hate speech and freedom of expression, as well as legal and practical basis in the legislation of Kyrgyzstan.

The participants discussed what measures the state can take to prevent hate speech, such as creating an environment where the rights to freedom of speech, equality and non-discrimination are protected, as well as educating on issues of equality, and ensuring equality and diversity of the media.

The listeners discussed the reasons for the use of hate speech during the election campaign and the reasons for the emergence of hate speech more generally.

 Speaking of the training, one participant said: “We often come across online hate speech, but it is often difficult to filter out what is hate speech and what is a person’s opinion. The training helped to determine what hate speech is and how to react to it. This knowledge will be useful to me personally – we, civic activists often faced with hate speech addressed towards us or our colleagues. Practical advice on how to respond is important and needed”.

Preparing youth and civic activists to address political parties and candidates running for upcoming parliamentary elections on combating hate speech was also an important component of the training sessions.

The trainings were carried out as part of the Challenge Hate Speech Campaign in Kyrgyzstan, which aims to raise awareness amongst political parties, youth, and civic activists of what hate speech is and how to combat it. Further civic information exercises with representatives of political parties will be held in seven regions of Kyrgyzstan ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.