We CAN! Taking action against hate speech through counter and alternative narratives – a guide developed by Council of Europe

Council of Europe, within No Hate Speech Youth Campaign, developed the manual entitled – We CAN! Taking action against hate speech through counter and alternative narratives!

This manual presents communicative and educational approaches and tools for youth and other human rights activists to develop their own counter and alternative narratives to hate speech and it is designed for working with young people from the age of 13.  Based on the principles of human rights education and youth participation, We CAN! complements the manual Bookmarks.

Thorbjørn Jagland, former Secretary General of the Council of Europe stated in the introductory chapter of the manual that: “In today’s Europe, hate speech is one of the most prolific forms of intolerance and xenophobia. This is especially the case online: the internet is frequently abused by those wishing to spread propaganda and vilify different groups or individuals. More and more, in mainstream political discourse, we see a toxic mixture of hate speech, fake news and “alternative facts” posing a serious threat to freedom and democracy.

These trends stand in stark contrast to the values and aims of the Council of Europe, which is dedicated to the spread of human rights across the continent. No Hate Speech Movement has mobilised young people from throughout Europe to expose prejudice wherever they find it, working together for a more respectful digital space.”

WE CAN! is the latest addition to the toolbox against hate developed by Council of Europe. This manual helps therefore young people and educators confront, dismantle and replace hateful narratives. Using this manual you will be guided in identifying the dangerous story-telling that chips away at our communities. Even more importantly, you will find tried and tested methods to propose powerful alternatives. Not simply telling different stories but building and deploying more truthful accounts of the world around us which encourage others to challenge prejudice and think critically.

The manual includes 6 chapters and is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 1 – The manual (introducing basic concepts, the need of the manual, narratives to address hate speech, objectives, intended users, educational approach, No Hate Speech Movement campaign);
  • Chapter 2 – Hate speech (defining hate speech, categories for social analysis of hate speech, who is targeted for hate speech, examples of hate speech in Europe);
  • Chapter 3 – Hate speech online and social media (communication and web 2.0, social media approaches towards hate speech, the role of internet literacy, campaigning through social media)
  • Chapter 4 – Narratives (why talk about narratives?, so – what’s the story?, narratives as frameworks for actions – examples);
  • Chapter 5 – Counter and alternative narratives
  • Chapter 6 – Preparing for action

We can! manual is a very useful tool that can be used by all teachers, trainers and educators involved in the AmeLiE project, or by all educators who fight against online hate speech at all levels.

The document can be downloaded and consulted here: https://rm.coe.int/wecan-eng-final-23052017-web/168071ba08

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