20th anniversary of Digital Opportunities Foundation

Berlin, 09.09.2022: For 20 years, the Digital Opportunities Foundation, cooperation partner in the AMeLiE project, has been committed to digital participation of all population groups. On Wednesday, September 7, the foundation team celebrated the anniversary at bUm in Berlin together with long-time collaborators, stakeholders and experts from the field of digitization and digital participation. When looking to the future and what challenges the foundation will have to face in the context of digital inclusion today and tomorrow, the important topic of online hate and how to prevent it came up repeatedly.

To celebrate the successful work of the foundation over the past 20 years, its team and stakeholders came together in bUm, a space for engaged civil society on Paul-Lincke-Ufer in Berlin-Kreuzberg. The event, moderated by Tessniem Kadiri, first looked at the history and development as well as key successes and milestones of the Digital Opportunities Foundation, but also discussed how it can continue to contribute to more digital equality of opportunity.

A look back at the history of the foundation’s origins was followed by a welcoming address from Ekin Deligöz, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

We don’t know what the world will look like in 20 years. But we do know that we need courageous people who can offer advice and support in order to shape the future in the best possible way and accompany everyone in the digital world.” – Ekin Deligöz, BMFSFJ

Ekin Deligöz also addressed the topic of hate and incitement online in her speech, providing very deep and personal insights into her private life and how she has repeatedly been a victim of hate on social media platforms like Twitter. The irony of it – when the attacks became so frequent, Twitter blocked Deligöz’s account: for her own safety. However, it is a wrong approach to ban and silence the people who are victims of hate online, instead of focusing on the perpetrators and holding them accountable.

The moderator Tessniem Kadiri also confirmed that she had deactivated her Twitter profile after being repeatedly attacked there.

Clearly, certain social groups are the focus of hate more than others. In particular, women or people with non-white skin color or a migrant background are disproportionately more likely to be the target of hate attacks. This has also been confirmed by studies (see for example https://www.idz-jena.de/fileadmin/user_upload/_Hass_im_Netz_-_Der_schleichende_Angriff.pdf).

There is an urgent need for action here – not just for platform operators, but for all of us. Only together can we specifically oppose hate and incitement and ensure that it’s not the wrong people who are silenced in the public sphere.

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