Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, however, the emergence of multiplatform communication has seen an increase in the dissemination of hate speech.
The media plays a crucial role in influencing the public perception of certain groups or minorities, such as migrant and refugee populations, and therefore need to provide accurate, well researched and objective reporting and analysis. However, this is not always the case as both deliberate and unintentionally negative portrayals are often found in the media, which can detrimentally impact people’s views of these communities.
Hate speech presents major challenges to today’s journalism. It is alarming how rapidly hate-filled messages seep into and overwhelm website comment sections and social media.
With this in mind, the Public Media Alliance (PMA) joined with partners the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) and UNESCO’s Caribbean Cluster for the Caribbean ahead of PMA’s Global Conference in Jamaica to host a workshop for journalists and media professionals from across the Caribbean. The workshop was used to discuss and create an action plan on hate speech and media coverage of violence for the region.
The August 2018 workshop was facilitated by Dr Zahera Harb, Senior Lecturer in International Journalism, City, University of London and Ms Anika Kentish, President of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers, with participants from a variety of backgrounds and media organisations. The meeting, and the passionate debates that ensued highlighted the need to produce a practical action plan to tackle the issue of hate speech in the Caribbean.
The action plan was developed with the regional media landscape in mind, with participants using their local and personal experience to inform its development and ensure its relevance for the Caribbean context. It will be used as a starting point to fuel further discussion and for the basis of future workshops and training programmes on the subject.
The action plan is available in English and Spanish via PMA’s Knowledge Hub. The action plan also features the Ethical Journalism Network’s Five Point Test for Hate Speech.
The Public Media Alliance would like to thank all workshop participants for their input into this action plan. We would also like to thank the project facilitators and partners the Ethical Journalism Network and UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean.