The national advocacy event on online hate speech and disinformation was organized on June 10, with the participation of journalists, representatives from independent regulators and from civil society organizations.
Special speaker was Toby Mendel, director of Center for Law and Democracy, with a long experience on legal and capacity building regarding foundational rights for democracy, including the right to information, freedom of expression, the right to participate and the rights to assembly and association. He focused on current trends in regulation policies to counter hate speech and disinformation, mainly in the European Union, but also on a global scale. He paid special attention to the options for self-regulation of hate speech and disinformation in media, but also in other platforms, such as social networks. Finally, he also focused on the best practices in this respect, discussing with participants what would be possible options that could be adopted in Albania.
During the discussion, several issues of concern were raised, such as the business model of social networks and how this affects disinformation spread, the importance of disseminating and sharing scientifically verified information during the pandemic, the right to anonymity and how it affects online discourse and narratives, the dissemination of hate speech and unverified statements from politicians and the effect of its multiplication by media outlets, etc. Special attention was paid to media and information literacy efforts, both in educating various age groups of the public, but also in making it attractive and effective for them, as well as the media role in self-regulating online narratives and speech.
During this event the factsheet “National regulatory and self-regulatory framework against hate speech and disinformation in Albania” was presented by AMI team to the participants. The factsheet provides an overview of existing legislation, sanctions, guidelines, and mechanisms in Albania that can be used to hold the media accountable for ethical violations related to hate speech and disinformation, but also to improve the overall quality of public discourse in the country in terms of ethics and inclusivity. The report also enlists a series of good practices, if available, and case studies that illustrate the current trends on regulation and self-regulation in the country related to these issues.
This activity was part of the project Resilience: Civil Society for Media Free of Hate and Disinformation, a regional project financially supported by the European Union and implemented in the Western Balkans and Turkey by a consortium of media development organizations led by SEENPM.