Syrian Hate Speech Observatory

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) has invited the EJN’s Tom Law to participate on an Expert Workshop of the Hate Speech Observatory, which will be held between 24th and 26th of October 2017 in Berlin – Germany. The workshop will be facilitated by Abeer Al Saady​.​

The Hate Speech Observatory is a project launched by SCM in partnership with The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and aims to measure the extent and types of hate speech being used by Syrian media outlets and influence Syrian media owners, and managers to reduce their use of hate speech and consequently reduce its destructive impact on the Syrian society

The workshop will bring together Syrian, regional and international media monitoring and freedom of expression experts in order to assess the language and meanings of incitement to violence, and the monitoring concept, methodology and mechanisms collectively.

About the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)

SCM is an independent Syrian civil society organisation that works to promote democracy, fundamental rights, and transitional justice in Syria. SCM strives to reach a Syria that is based on rule of law, rotation of power, freedom of expression and human rights.

Agenda of Expert Workshop for the Hate Speech Observatory 24-26 October 2017 (Berlin, Germany)

SCM will hold a 3-day experts’ workshop with participation from 15 Syrian, regional, and international media monitoring and freedom of expression experts. The language and meanings of hate speech and incitement to violence, and the monitoring concept, methodology and mechanisms, tools and scope would be assessed. Moreover an assessment would be conducted of the criteria for selecting the media outlets to be monitored and the media monitor training programme.

Day One

Introductions:
● SCM: Introducing SCM, the Media & Freedoms Unit, and the observatory project (rationale, stakeholders, and objectives)
● UNESCO: Power of the media to influence and its potentially dangerous effects, aspirations from the partnership
● Participants introduction: Syrian, regional, and international media monitoring and freedom of expression expert introduce their background and expertise, and experience in the Syrian context.

Session 1: Overview presentation of the project phases [SCM]

Introducing the phases and stages of the project:
● Phase 1 Stage 1 Monitoring Assessment and Research
● Phase 1 Stage 2 Building Local Capacity for Media Monitoring
● Phase 2 Stage 1 Media Monitoring and Series of Meetings with Media Stakeholders
● Phase 2 Stage 2 Reviewing Impact
● Phase 2 Stage 3 Raising Awareness in the wider Syrian Media Community

Session 2: Significance of monitoring and its power to influence

Outputs: a list of techniques for using media monitoring of hate speech to affect impact on media actors

Session 3: Language and definitions of hate speech and incitement to violence

Outputs: a list of definitions, types and concepts for the Hate speech and incitement to violence dictionary (from now called the dictionary)

Session 4: Presentation and discussion of the Syrian media environment

Outputs: a list of common perceptions of Syrian media scene

Session 5: Presentation of the monitoring methodology and tools

Day Two

Session 6: Feedback discussion: assessment of the monitoring scope

Outputs: draft a list improvement areas and recommendations to amend the scope accordingly

Session 7: Feedback discussion: assessment of the timeframe and time slots to monitored

Outputs: draft a list improvement areas and recommendations to amend the timeframe and time slots accordingly

Session 8: Feedback discussion: assessment of monitoring tools (digital and print media)

Outputs: draft a list improvement areas and recommendations to amend the monitoring forms accordingly Session 9: Feedback discussion: assessment of monitoring tools (Visual and audio media) Outputs: draft a list improvement areas and recommendations to amend the monitoring forms accordingly

Session 9: Feedback discussion: monitoring tools assessment (databases)

Outputs: draft a list improvement areas and recommendations to amend the monitoring databases accordingly

Day Three

Session 10: Review of criteria for selection of media outlets to be monitored

Outputs: A Reviewed criteria for the selection of media outlets. Session 11: Assessment of the media monitor training programme Outputs: draft a list of improvement areas and recommendations to amend the media monitor training program accordingly

Session 12: Next steps and timeline

Session 13: (16:00 – 17:00) Closing notes

● SCM’s closing notes
● UNESCO’s closing notes
● Feedback Forms