General: MENA Network for Countering Hate Speech Yes to freedom of expression ………… No to hate speech

23.09.19

(Geneva on 23 September 2019) - The undersigned organizations are establishing an anti-hate speech network entitled “MENA Network for Countering Hate Speech” to confront hate speech in media and social networking sites in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The initiative will cooperate with concerned regional and international institutions to raise awareness of the dangers of hate speech to civil peace in the region, which has witnessed many conflicts and civil wars.

The Network, which will open its membership to all institutions believing in its core goal and tolerant of freedom of expression, will focus on achieving the following objectives:

  • Identify hate speech and differentiate between it and (peaceful) freedom of opinion and expression. 
  • Raise awareness among journalists and activists to confront this discourse and reduce it in social and traditional media.
  • Consolidate the principles of tolerance, dialogue and non-violence within communities in the region. 


To achieve its objectives, the Network will work on a series of varied activities, including but not limited to, campaigns, specialized and substantive studies, training courses, training workshops, and conferences in addition to monitoring of traditional and social media that promote this virulent speech. 

 The network will reach out to giant networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to contribute to setting general standards in the face of hateful rhetoric, and to stop any violations committed against freedom of expression and privacy.

As part of its strategy, the network will cooperate with stakeholders and build partnerships with local, regional, and international institutions to benefit from their experiences in this field and to carry out joint activities that tackle this discourse and help promote freedom of expression.

The network's announcement came during a side event held on the sidelines of the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where it addressed hate speech in the MENA region, and was moderated by Mousa Rimawi of the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) with the participation of Yara Bader from Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), Khalid Ibrahim from the Gulf Centre for Human Rights GCHR), and Ma'aly Hazzaz from the UNESO.

Founding Organisations: 
No.
Organization
Contact Person 
Position
Email
1
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)
 Mr. Mousa Rimawi
Director-General

m.rimawi@madacenter.org 

2
Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
Mr. Khalid  Ibrahim
Executive Director 

Khalid@gc4hr.org 

3

Maharat Foundation

 

Mrs. Roula Mikhael
Executive Director
 roula.mikhael@maharatfoundation.org
4

Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)

 Mrs. Yara Bader 
Head of Media and Freedoms Department

y.b@scm.bz