The European Union and the Council of Europe officially presented today the campaign “Block the hatred, share the love!” at the launching event held in Sarajevo, delivering a message that every citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina can play an important role in responding to hate speech with positive language and mutual respect.
“Hate speech, especially on social media and the internet, unfortunately is very common nowadays. However, each of us can be a positive example. We can encourage each other to appreciate human dignity in everyday life, and choose not to insult, hate or stigmatise others“, stated Head of the Council of Europe Office in Sarajevo Bojana Urumova.
During the event it was stressed that anyone can be exposed to hate speech, but that vulnerable groups are certainly most affected. Preventing hate speech is something that largely depends on an individual, but each person can certainly point to its consequences and take action.
Acting Deputy Head of the EU Delegation Jurgis Vilcinskas highlighted that the EU will not stand idle to hate speech and it stands ready to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in fight against this phenomenon. “Violence that happens on social media doesn’t stay on social media; it is a real violence, but social media offer us ways to challenge this and promote tolerance and mutual understanding online. I believe that this campaign will help us amplify messages of peace and message of diversity“, said Vilcinskas.
Deputy Mayor of City of Sarajevo Anja Margetić, underlined that all of us together, that is, every citizen as an individual, is responsible to draw attention to hate speech, to stand up for the protection of those against whom hate speech is committed. “Only together, as a society, can we act more effectively to minimise this anomaly”, she added.
The legislative and institutional framework that condemns and combats hate speech is crucial in reducing the consequences of harmful stereotypes that affect individuals, entire families and society as a whole.
“Hate speech is harmful to society, corrodes it and creates space for spreading intolerance and legal uncertainty. Competent institutions must, therefore, take action against those who use it. For a society, a major problem is when public officials resort to that kind of rhetoric, thus sending an indirect message to the public that hate speech is allowed and even desirable", said Ombudsperson of Bosnia and Herzegovina dr Jasminka Džumhur.
The “Block the Hatred. Share the Love!” campaign aims to combat various forms of hate speech targeting specific communities and individuals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also to inform the public, especially younger generations, about it by distributing anti-hate speech content on social media and public events. These activities will involve prominent public figures, institutions, and activists, who will promote diversity and equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region, through personal storytelling, testimonies and exchange of good practices.
The No-Hate Speech Ambassadors of Bosnia and Herzegovina, include prominent public figures, such as national basketball team players Matea Tavić and Milica Deura, a member of the national handball team Boris Vrhovac, journalist and writer Dragan Bursać, and young influencers Josip Milanović and Nejra Kamerić Nevicki. They have heeded the call to join the campaign by offering counter-narratives and demonstrating the best attitudes.
The campaign is implemented within the action “Promotion of diversity and equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, which is part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme „Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022“.
For more information
Marija Simić, Communication Officer, Council of Europe - [email protected], +381 63 60 13 37
Ilarija Bašić, PR Director, MITA Group – [email protected], +38761765502