Facilitated by UNMSIL, media professionals and social media influencers agree on Ethical Principles to counter Hate Speech in Libyan Media
TRIPOLI, 12 September 2019 – In an UNSMIL-organized seminar to counter hate speech, incitement, and disinformation in Libya media, participants agreed on a set of governing principles to promote ethical journalism and activism on social media platforms. Thirty participants, including journalists, human rights and civil society activists, media academics, and social media influencers met for two days to discuss ways to limit using media and social media networks in promoting violence and hate speech.
The participants in the two-day-seminar, organized on 9-10 September in Tripoli by UNSMIL’s Public Information and Communications Unit, agreed on 16 recommendations as key principles to counter hate speech, incitement, disinformation, and rumors. The recommendations aim ideally at averting further fragmentation and division of the social fabric of Libya as a result of hate speech and incitement.
UNSMIL leadership encourages efforts to tackle hate speech and fake news and take this issue very seriously. Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Stephanie Williams, participated in the closing session of the event. She highlighted the negative impact of hate speech on the Libyan society as well as on the political process. Mrs. Williams addressed the participants, “Hate speech, incitement, rumors, disinformation and fake news are just a few examples of the prevailing social media content in your country which have wreaked havoc with Libya’s already fragile social fabric. The longer this continues, the more difficult it will be for us to broker a lasting ceasefire.”
“We welcome and support this worthy effort and hope that together we will be able to restore the role of media as a catalyst to peace building in Libya.”
The presentations included examples of hate speech and fake news extracts from local media and social media platforms in Libya. Facebook also participated in a session on the first day through a video link. The participants were introduced to Facebook’s latest news feed and community standards, including shortcuts to reporting of inappropriate content that incites hatred and violence.
This seminar will be followed by similar events to engage all actors in the media space from various parts of Libya, in order to agree, as an urgent need, on a Code of Conduct for media. These efforts are designed to complement the ongoing diplomatic efforts to revive the political process. UNSMIL hopes that this will be an opportunity for all media professionals in Libya to stand united against hate speech, incitement and disinformation, which threaten the Libyans’ pursuit of social peace.