Geri The regional platform of Equality bodies continues the work to address hate speech in Eastern Partnership and Western Balkans

Western Balkans (online) 21-22 March 2024
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An online event was held focusing on fostering collaboration and exchange knowledge, common challenges and good practices between Equality bodies from the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership regions, to address hate speech. This event, is a continuation to the equality bodies platform established previously under the Council of Europe anti-discrimination projects.

This time, the implementation of the recent Council of Europe Committee of Minister recommendation on hate speech and the examination of the European legislative framework were at the centre of the discussions. At the same time, the meeting promoted role of Equality bodies in enhancing mechanisms to tackle hate speech effectively, as well as importance of collaboration with civil society organisations and other relevant actors.

Participants also analysed the existing media regulatory frameworks applicable to traditional and on-line media. They learned about good practices in the cooperation with media and platforms for combating hate speech, the removal of legal and harmful media contents and joint initiatives with education sector for eliminating discriminatory content from school curricula.

Participants concluded that advocacy efforts need to be intensified to ensure immediate responses to threats to social cohesion, giving individuals the ability to enjoy their rights, while ensuring effective redress mechanisms to persons whose human rights are violated. The next meeting of the platform will take place in July 2024, focusing on measures against incitement to hatred and hate crime, contributing to further enhancement of capacities of equality bodies to respond to racism and intolerance in their societies, in line with European standards.

This online seminar was organised within the action “Promoting equality and combating racism and intolerance in the Western Balkans” and the project “Promoting equality and non-discrimination: towards more resilient and inclusive societies” – co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, and implemented respectively by the Council of Europe under the joint European Union and Council of Europe Programmes “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye” and “Partnership for Good Governance”.