A heightened international threat

Date:

a heightened international threat

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Monday, January 30, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • In South Sudan, hate speech and lethal violence. Even though only a tiny elite in South Sudan has access to the internet, activists like Edmund Yakani, one of the nation’s most well-known human rights advocates, are nevertheless the target of online hate speech.

  • Dalit “coming out”Yashica Dutt became yet another victim of hate speech when she identified herself as a Dalit in public in 2015.

  • However, she claims that she now often encounters hate speech on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Ms. Mlinarevi, who also serves as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, has written extensively on corruption in her home nation for many years.

  • She received online harassment for this, including threats and insults. Still, the amount of hate increased after a picture of her mastectomy scar—a first for Bosnia and Herzegovina—was published in a magazine.

One of the many parallels between the January attacks on Brazil’s government buildings and January 6, 2021, storming of the US Capitol is that each incident occurred after certain groups repeatedly directed harmful rhetoric and false claims against others. This is evidence that hate speech has a demonstrable impact on society.

Independent human rights experts have urged major social media platforms to adjust their business models and uphold higher accountability standards in the fight against the spread of hate speech online due to concerns about the epidemic.

Following his imprisonment in Romania as part of an investigation into charges of human trafficking and rape, which he denies, the case of polarising social media influencer Andrew Tate recently attracted considerable media attention.

Tate was previously barred from several well-known social media sites for advocating hate speech and misogynistic ideas, including TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Producer Katy Dartford talks to notable activists whose work has made them the target of online abuse, misinformation, and threats in the new UN Podcasts series Uniting Against Hate.

In South Sudan, hate speech and lethal violence

Even though only a tiny elite in South Sudan has access to the internet, activists like Edmund Yakani, one of the nation’s most well-known human rights advocates, are nevertheless the target of online hate speech.

In this edition of the UNiting Against Hate podcast, Mr. Yakani explains how domestic and diaspora hate speech is fueling further bloodshed in the most recent member of the United Nations. He claims that 60% of the country’s lethal violence is caused by hate speech.

According to Mr. Yakani, he has frequently been the target of internet attacks in which his picture or statements have been misrepresented. Some people call me an animal, such as a bug, monkey, or snake, while others label me a murderer.

“This story has significant ramifications. It ruins my relationships with others and my social network, and it makes people distrustful of me and lacks confidence in me.

Mr. Yakani is concerned that hate speech destabilises his nation and makes violence the go-to method for settling conflicts. He believes that greater funding should be allocated to practical solutions, such as targeted penalties for offenders, better laws, and educational initiatives.

Mr. Yakani continues to work to uphold responsibility, justice, and respect for human rights despite several threats to his safety. “Hate speech is always directed at those who are rising up and demanding openness, accountability, and the battle against corruption, or demanding democratic transition.”

Children wait outside a community toilet in a urban slum in Mumbai, India.
— Dhiraj Singh, UNICEF

youngsters in a slum in Mumbai. Dalits frequently represent the most marginalised sections of Indian society.

Dalit “coming out”

Yashica Dutt became yet another victim of hate speech when she identified herself as a Dalit in public in 2015. Dalits are a group of people who, according to proponents of the Indian caste system, are at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

“I spoke up a much. I was describing the appearance of caste and how we must recognise its existence and stop erasing it. And since many people were offended by that story, I participated in several troll attacks.

Caste remains in Indian communities, whether in the homeland or the Indian diaspora, according to journalist and award-winning author of the memoir “Coming out as Dalit.”

She claims that the emergence of social media has resulted in a regrettable resurgence of racism, bigotry, and verbal abuse.

To provide a safe space for people to discuss the trauma of belonging to a lower caste, she started the “Documents of Dalit Discrimination” Tumblr site. However, she claims that she now often encounters hate speech on Twitter and Facebook.

“There are usually a few trolls whenever I give a seminar or participate in a panel discussion,” she claims.

I’m told that I’m being paid by an unidentified organisation rather than because I’m genuinely tired of the discrimination that I and those around me experience.

Hateful language Since you can organise armies of trolls to swarm your account and ensure that you never use your voice again truly does take on a terrible aspect online. And it’s incredibly frightening,” she adds.

One central right-wing account, according to Ms. Dutt, incited its million or so followers to hurl insults, profanities, and threats of physical or sexual assault, as well as murder.

“I had to disconnect for a while. Even though I live in New York, India is the source of many threats. Additionally, hardline Hindu communities are increasingly growing in number in the US. It wasn’t very comforting, but I’ve developed coping mechanisms through time.

“This influences how we utilise our voice, whether consciously or unconsciously. In the end, what do you believe will happen if I tweet this in this specific way?

I laid all my hopes to rest

Martina Mlinarevi is a writer and journalist who has also encountered the potentially fatal consequences of hate speech.

Ms. Mlinarevi, who also serves as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, has written extensively on corruption in her home nation for many years. She received online harassment for this, including threats and insults. Still, the amount of hate increased after a picture of her mastectomy scar—a first for Bosnia and Herzegovina—was published in a magazine.

“Due to threats and cyberbullying, I had to relocate to another place with a young child. Leaving my hometown, where I had lived for 37 years, was the hardest and saddest thing.

Ms. Mlinarevi describes how a doll made to look like her was burned at a traditional carnival in 2020 when she visited Prague. It was a persecution campaign intended to harm me for speaking out about politics, gender issues, and other topics in addition to my breast scar being exposed.

At the time, all of these assaults went unpunished and turned into threatening, misogynistic threats against her safety and her family.

“That was the turning point when I buried my expectations for my home region.”

Ms. Mlinarevi, despite her struggles, has hope for the future. “I try to work with young people as much as I can, empowering their voices, particularly those of girls and women, and attempting to teach them to speak up for themselves and others. Let’s hope that all of our children will experience a brighter future.

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