May 30, 2024
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FIRE Conference/WBF’s far-reaching commitments in the fight against hate speech (VIDEO)

29 April 2022

Following FIRE Conference, WBF publishes a comprehensive set of commitments and recommendations to target hate speech on a large scale.

At the beginning of March, with the generous support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the International Visegrad Fund, we organized the FIRE Conference against hate speech.

More than 70 experts from politics, academia, media, regulatory bodies, civil society, and more arrived in Tirana to exchange their thoughts in one of the region’s largest regional conferences of this kind.

Since then, for the last 8 weeks, we have been busy developing a set of recommendations based on the deliberations of the seven panels.

The recommendations include media, government, public institutions and WBF commitments to address priorities.

Furthermore, we are pleased to publish today, together with the list of recommendations, the video of FIRE highlights, a clear testimony of the magnitude, importance and valuable lessons learned during the Conference.



Priority to be addressed Media’s commitments to address priorities Governments and public institutions commitments to address priorities WBF’s commitments to address priorities
Guidance towards change of regional mind-set 1.  Invest on cross-sectoral and regional cooperation through direct support to media outlets and associations to enhance awareness for access to fair and verified information.

2.  Increase media’s presence in public discourse on various segments on freedom of expression and access to information.

1.  Provide more access of media to verified sources and information

2.  Cooperate with the public on identifying freedom of expression gaps

3.  Promote education as a tool for addressing and countering hate speech.

4.  Promote the values and skills of Global Citizenship Education and enhance Media and Information Literacy.

1.  Expand the scope of support to direct regional initiatives and actors that address freedom of expression and access to information.

2.  Support and promote initiatives that strengthen Media Literacy manuals, curriculums and approaches.

3.  Enhance its position as a key promoter of freedom of expression on policy making in a regional level.

Decrease disturbance of social cohesion 1.  Identify and address the root causes, drivers and actors of potential disturbance of social cohesion.

2.  Coordinate a common understanding in taking relevant action to best address and/or mitigate impact on social cohesion.

3.  Media outlets shall invest in journalists on education on Hate Speech and un-verified facts/sources

4.  Media outlets shall pledge on implementation of the code of ethics and use fact-checking mechanisms in daily reporting

1.  Update national laws, regulations and strategies with international standards on freedom of expression and access to information

2.  Support mechanisms that provide incentives for promotion of positive example of healthy social cohesion

3.  Strengthen cooperation with regional mechanisms that can enhance links between local and regional actors

1.  WBF shall enhance cooperation with like-minded organizations and networks to support universal principles and actions to promote social cohesion

2.  WBF to serve as a safe space that provides a platform of discussion among CSOs, governments, media regulators and self-regulators to identify potential elements of social cohesion disturbance

Increase ethics on media as e primary source of information for the community to provide verified content/sources. 1.  Increase investment by media outlets on continuous education for existing and new journalists

2.  Media outlets to invest more on research and development where technology can become at use for the benefit of the media and freedom of expression in general

3.  Media outlets to invest more on broadcast and online media to strengthen news dissemination according to the international human rights standards

4.  Media outlets (national & private) should invest more in its programming to promote the harmony among different groups and communities locally and regionally.

1.  Update national laws, regulations and strategies with international standards on freedom of expression and access to information that could improve TV programs and overall audience.

2.  Monitor the implementation of international standards into a local level and identify any potential threat of hate speech that may incite violence, undermine social cohesion and tolerance, and cause intolerance and discrimination.

1.  WBF to be more present in the regional level through direct support to programs that include media community

2.  Establish and strengthen partnerships with new and traditional media to strengthen freedom of expression locally and regionally also promote the values of tolerance, non-discrimination and pluralism.

Understanding consequences of “un-filtered” public discourse and ensuring better cooperation with the public 1.  Exchange of knowledge and information on regional level on the trends of hate speech, disinformation and defamation and its impact on public discourse

2.  Encourage collaborative approach towards the identification of root causes and drivers of hate speech, disinformation and defamation

3.  Increase attention to details when disseminating an information in order to avoid any possible discriminatory views

1.     Reassure and promote bottom-up approach when endorsing decision making mechanisms

2.     Design and support programs that promote intercultural and inter-religious dialogue as tools for reconciliation processes

3.     Intensify cooperation among parliamentary bodies and  media representatives in developing mechanisms that promote freedom of expression and access to information

1.  WBF should support projects on promoting digital skills that address & tackle hate speech

2.  WBF shall invest more on promotion of human rights standards in general online and onsite.

3.  WBF shall support journalists’ on capacity development

Legal mechanisms enforced to better promote freedom of expression 1.  Media Commission’s around the region shall reinforce the international standards into their daily practice

2.  Media Commission’s shall provide an inclusive space for the general audience and decision-makers in promoting Freedom of Expression

3.  Update rules and regulations that can be used as updated guidelines for regional and external communications that could further mitigate the impact of hate speech without restricting the right to freedom of expression

4.  Media regulators should increase monitoring of media content to ensure full implementation of the code of ethics

1.    Ensure the implementation of the legal framework to support freedom of expression and provide adequate training to judges and prosecutors on freedom of expression, defamation and SLAAP suit

2.    Put efforts to remove legal and administrative obstacles that hinder intra-regional mobility and increase regional cooperation and exchange of best practices

3.    Enhance the support to self-regulatory bodies to create mechanisms and identify ways to counter hate speech

1.  Organize an international conference on human rights standards promotion involving decision makers from each CP and beyond

2.  Become a source of aggregated data on trends that further enhance respect on human rights with focus on freedom of expression.

3.  Provide a platform for expertise exchange between EU countries and the Western Balkans on legal mechanisms regulating hate speech, disinformation and defamation

Improve women’s position in the public discourse 1.  Media outlets shall increase gender mainstreaming perspective in media programs

2.  Create a manual that could serve as a guidance for online media addresses how to deal with online threats and hate speech

3.  Actively regulate and filter messages attacking and objectifying women

4.  Identify and support victims of hate speech

5.  Put efforts to implement human rights-centred measures which aim at countering retaliatory hate speech and escalation of violence

1.  Harmonise national laws and regulations with international standards in order to improve the quality of public policies, programmes and projects, ensuring a more efficient allocation of resources

2.  Collaborate with CSO sector in monitoring and addressing hate speech trends

3.  Promote joint measures to ensure that the rights of victims are upheld, and their needs addressed, including through advocacy for remedies, access to justice and psychological counselling

4.  Establish / strengthen partnerships with relevant stakeholders locally, regionally and internationally including those working in media and tech industry

5.  Provide institutional support to women groups or NGOs who want to take cases and medias to court for misogyny and hatred language.

1.  Establish and strengthen cooperation with like-minded organisations in development of joint responses to the impact of hate speech on women

2.  Develop and engage in advocacy in improving women’s position in public discourse

3.  Provide funds for joint initiatives that directly tackle freedom of expression

4.  Develop online campaigns that could improve women’s position in public perspective

Prioritization of positive examples of regional Cooperation 1.  Media outlets to actively share local and regional information into their CP

2.  Strengthen cooperation among media in the region and presents successful results to a broader public.

1.  Increase engagement of media in regional agenda

2.  Use high-level political participation in regional initiatives as a platform to fight hate speech, disinformation and defamation

1.  Be more present in the region through advocacy campaigns

2.  Become a donor, a partner, a leader in addressing hate language or any discriminatory approach