Hate speech discussed at the UN in New York

On the 16th of June, the UN discussed the growth of hate speech online.

This is an issue I have looked at repeatedly from international and local perspectives. I was also part of a group that attempted to draw up some basic guidelines for respectful online communications, echoing those I drew up to frame the discussion on Groundviews.

I was sad to miss it by a day, but both the participation and speech of the UN Secretary General suggest that this is now getting the serious attention it deserves. The discussions seems to have been american centric, but the issue is global and multi-lingual.

Calling it digital demonisation, the UN SG went on to note that,

“… we have seen it time and again targeting innocents because of their faith, their race, their ethnicity, their sexual orientation. Here at the United Nations, we understand the power of words. Words can hurt or they can heal. They can rupture or they can repair. For young people, electronic harassment and cyberhate can have a searing impact. We must be aware. We must remain vigilant. Protecting children is a top priority for the United Nations. And we have taken a number of steps to make cyberspace safer for young people.”

The UN SG’s full speech can be read here. UN Radio has a related podcast here.

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