From: Alice Taylor
Anti-Hate Speech Campaign Comes to the Western Balkans

The European Union and the Council of Europe have launched a new campaign to fight hate speech in the Western Balkans.

Called “Block the hatred. Share the love” it will take place online via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and will continue for several years.

The initiative was developed due to the fact that hate speech is on the rise across Europe, jeopardising social cohesion and putting human rights at risk. In the Western Balkans, they say that hate speech is particularly used against members of vulnerable groups, many of which have already been affected by discrimination and stigma during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EU and CoE invite civil activists, journalists, and students to take part in this campaign by following and sharing posts and using their own platforms to respond to hate speech.

“Not only institutions but also people, each and every individual, should be ready to respond to hate speech. Today, I joined the campaign to say ‘BLOCK THE HATRED, SHARE THE LOVE’ and I’m inviting you to do the same. Join us and keep following the campaign in the years to come”, said the Head of the EU Delegation to the Council of Europe, Meglena Kuneva.

The Director of the Office of Council of Europe Directorate General of Programmes, Verena Taylor, added: “Our anti-discrimination body, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, has produced clear guidelines for states, and for civil society, on how to address hate speech. One visible and strong instrument is the No Hate Speech campaign, launched in the framework of the Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey. We invite all to join the Europe-wide movement against hate speech, to take a stand for diversity and equality”.

The No-Hate Speech Ambassadors, prominent public figures from the Western Balkans, will actively take part in the campaign.

Videos and other materials can be found on the campaign’s social media channels and on the website of the Horizontal Facility programme.