What has been observed by JFL researchers on social media, media outlets, circulated messages, examples of key people in the 10 interviews, what some international documents have touched on, and the experiences of other countries, hate speech has serious implications for the stability of societies and a role in increasing the number and level of conflict.
In northeastern Syria in general, and Deir Ezzor in particular, there is space where the right to expression can be exercised. However, what happens is that this space is used to pass inflammatory and hateful messages. These messages intensify every time topics of interest to the community at large arise. Factors that reinforce hate speech play a role in increasing doses of incitement, including abuses by controlling forces such as arbitrary arrests, torture in detention centres, repression of protesters, insecurity, disregard for popular demands and general media failure to adhere to professional standards. Clan lineups that have even affected civil society activists have made the situation more complicated. Northeastern Syria lacks clear procedures that limit the consequences of incitement and hold perpetrators accountable.
The controlling forces should develop measures that respect human rights principles to curb the negative use of media and social media sites. Furthermore, establishing safe spaces for dialogue involving different community groups has become a necessity. The role of civil society organizations, community leaders and the judiciary is central to the censorship process in the face of hate speech and incitement to violence.
The debate continues to rage over what is the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and what is considered incitement and hateful speech. Significant efforts by civil society are needed through intensive field research to identify factors that provokes hatred within the community and the consequences it may cause in order to raise awareness of the need to avoid them.
Read more:Hate Speech in Eastern Syria-EN