Fighting hate speech is a necessity in our society and local communities but is also a duty for every citizen in North Macedonia who has an important role to play in combatting discrimination and ensuring a free and diverse society. This was the main message of today’s public event in the City Park in Skopje, organised under the joint campaign of the European Union and the Council of Europe “Block the Hatred. Share the Love!” focused on combating hate speech and discrimination.
Roses as symbol of love and harmony were the main theme of this activity, which gathered numerous young people, youth activists, representatives from local institutions, ‘No Hate Speech Ambassadors’ and supporters of the campaign. It was aimed at raising awareness among citizens of Skopje of the various forms of hate speech and discrimination that target specific communities and individuals, as well as at promoting different ways to fight hate speech, primarily by spreading positive messages of acceptance and respect for diversity, and symbolically ‘sharing the love’ in our communities by giving roses.
‘No Hate Speech’ Ambassadors - prominent public figures supporting the campaign, were giving flowers, taking and sharing photos on social media with a special frame dedicated to the campaign, and discussing with the citizens how to tackle hate speech.
“Hate speech, which is expressed in, through and towards media and journalists is especially problematic, and the society and everyone in it must take serious measures in addressing it. In the absence of that this phenomenon will only keep spreading. We need to pay special attention to hate speech directed against female journalists and media workers. This gender aspect of hate speech shows where we need to focus when blocking hatred and sharing love.” – said the well-known TV host and editor, Ognen Janeski, who took part in the event as one of ‘No Hate Speech’ Ambassadors.
Denis Jankulovski, medical worker, recipient of the European of the Year for 2021 and a No Hate Speech Ambassador stated: “Unfortunately, in the recent years, hate speech has taken much more space and a lot of bad words have come out to the surface. This type of rhetoric can be detected on almost every topic and everywhere. Not carefully chosen words can have a lot of impact on those targeted. It is almost unbelievable that such words exist. That is why we need to be as loud as possible and our voices need to be heard every day, in recognising, condemning and eradicating hate speech. We need to underline that everyone will feel much better when their speech is filled with beautiful things, nice words and respect for everyone, regardless of the fact that we don’t always share the same opinions and views.”, he said.
“Block the Hatred. Share the Love is a joint effort of the Council of Europe and European Union to support the fight against hate speech. Through this campaign we would like to be closer to citizens and send the message that the love is alternative to hatred. We can all combat hatred by sharing our common European values such as tolerance, respect for others, love and commitment to live in a society without hate.” – said Lejla Dervisagic, Head of Operations of the Council of Europe Programme Office in Skopje in her remarks.
Since December 2021, the awareness-raising campaign “Block the Hatred; Share the Love”, has been implemented in North Macedonia, aiming to inform various local audiences on the danger of hate speech and ways to tackle it. In addition to being expended online through the web and social media channels, this initiative is also the focus of various public events. The campaign involves prominent public figures, institutions, and renowned human rights activists, promoting diversity and equality in the local communities and in the region, through personal storytelling, testimonies and exchange of good practices.
The campaign is implemented within the action “Promotion of diversity and equality in North Macedonia”, that is a part of the programme "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022", funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe.
For more information contact:
Teodora Krstevska – Represent Agency – Tel: 071962694
Marija Andreeva, Council of Europe Program Office in Skopje – Tel: 070840559