Human Rights and Equality Commission Challenges Rise of Hate Speech Online 

 28th November 2018 – The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“The Commission”) has today called for Ireland to show international leadership in combatting the rise of online hate speech

The call from Chief Commissioner Emily Logan comes as the Commission, in its role as Ireland’s national human rights and equality body, brings together international experts and commentators from the worlds of law, media, academia and the tech sector to focus attention on online hate speech in the Irish context, and to enable a stronger preventive approach to the rise of inflammatory racist online speech.

The event “A More Social Media” taking place in the Science Gallery today will hear from international experts including Dr. Tarlach McGonagle, University of Amsterdam Institute for Information Law, Siobhán Cummiskey, Facebook’s Head of Content Policy and Emma Dabiri, BBC broadcaster and writer.

As part of the event, new research entitled, ““Hate Track – Tracking and Monitoring Hate Speech Online”, which uses computational methods to understand online racist speech in the Irish context is being presented and published. The experimental research has been funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Irish Research Council, and has been carried out by Dublin City University (“DCU”).

The research brings forward a tool for identification and tracking of hate materials on certain social media channels, it takes a preliminary look on material collected over period of 3 months, and it explores reporting barriers and cultures that feed into decisions to report or not report online hate speech. The tool is intended to determine the current state of the digital public sphere, as opposed to being a censorship or removal tool.

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“The potential for intolerance online to shape the public debate – and resulting political debate – offline is becoming one of the hallmarks of the digital age.

“While there is no doubt that the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 is not fit for purpose and should be modernised, a legislative refresh is not the only solution to tackle online intolerance.

“Cultural change is possible, and new norms can be established – particularly by those with power and influence.

“Ireland needs leadership from across society to play a more discernible role in preventing the spread of online intolerance.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

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Editor’s Note:

Event details – “A More Social Media”

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, as Ireland’s national human rights and equality body, is today bringing together international experts and commentators from the worlds of law, media, academia and the tech sector to understand the nature of online hate speech, and how to tackle it.  The event is entitled “A More Social Media” and will be live-streamed at the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynSo73TPmfw

Among the expert international speakers are:

  • Tarlach McGonagle, University of Amsterdam Institute for Information Law
  • Siobhán Cummiskey – Facebook Head of Content Policy
  • Emma Dabiri – BBC broadcaster and writer
  • Gavan Titley – Maynooth University, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies
  • Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The full event programme is available at the following link:

https://www.ihrec.ie/app/uploads/2018/11/Conference-Programme-A-More-Social-Media.pdf

“Hate Track” Research

The report “Hate Track – Tracking and Monitoring Hate Speech Online” was prepared for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Irish Research Council by Dublin City University.

“Hate Track – Tracking and Monitoring Hate Speech Online” by Eugenia Siapera, Elena Moreo, Jiang Zhou of Dublin City University is available online on the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission website at www.ihrec.ie .

HateTrack: Tracking and Monitoring Racist Hate Speech Online

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission,

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State. As part of its statutory remit, the Commission has a specific function to work towards the elimination of discrimination.

 

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