“Hate Speech”, Social Media and Minorities

Global Minority Rights Summer School 2020 at Budapest, Hungary, July 11—18, 2020. Deadline for Registration: march 23, 2020

Global Minority Rights Summer School (GMRSS) 2020:  Budapest, Hungary, July 11—18, 2020

The Tom Lantos Institute (TLI) and the National University of Public Service (NUPS), in cooperation with Minority Rights Group International and Eurac Research, are organizing their eighth international summer school on minority rights, which this year will have a special focus on “hate speech”, social media and minorities.

Recent examples of so-called “hate speech”, particularly incitement to hatred, against individuals belonging to minority groups has caused significant alarm across the world. Much of the concern has been about the role played by social media platforms in the online dissemination of “hate speech”, which has led to the targeting of minorities, often with catastrophic and deadly consequences, but also to the exacerbation of tensions and a growing climate of fear within societies. Political leaders, public officials and other authority figures have relied on such platforms to amplify and spread their hate-fueled agendas, including the demonization of and disinformation about minorities, threatening human rights, undermining democratic values and sowing societal distrust. Moreover, the Internet companies, on whose platforms such hateful content spreads, seem dependent on a business model that prizes virality. It is therefore unsurprising that there have been increasing calls for the imposition of limits on “hate speech” and the regulation of platforms. At the same time, the ambiguity and vagueness surrounding the notion of “hate speech” – which lacks any definition in international law and political consensus about its meaning – can be abused to enable violations of human rights, particularly freedom of expression, of persons belonging to minorities, as well as their advocates and representatives. While governments around the world are putting pressure on Internet companies to incentivize the removal of what is deemed as “hate speech” from their platforms, including through legislative means, Internet companies themselves have developed their own content moderation policies and rules concerning “hate speech”. Yet all too often such responses have shown to be either inadequate or overbroad in terms of international human rights standards, curtailing legitimate forms of expression and the realization of a broad range of human rights of persons belonging to minorities. This complex and shifting context forms the backdrop for the 2020 Global Minority Rights Summer School.

The 2020 Global Minority Rights Summer School will explore these and other issues related to “hate speech”, social media and minorities, bringing together policy makers, civil society activists, academics, and other key stakeholders. The five-day interactive summer school will examine contemporary trends, challenges and case-studies, and also discuss concrete solutions. Two United Nations Special Rapporteurs, on minority issues (Fernand de Varennes) and on freedom of religion or belief (Ahmed Shaheed), will participate in the summer school as speakers, and discuss their mandates and the work they have done since being appointed.  Participants will also be allocated time to make presentations on relevant subjects of interest to them.

The Summer School will host approximately 30 participants from around the world, offering a discussion forum on issues related to minorities and indigenous peoples with leading experts and practitioners in the field of international human rights law, political science, international relations, economics, and journalism. Lecturers will:

  • Provide an overview of the normative framework governing the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples at the international and regional levels;
  • Discuss key issues related to “hate speech”, social media, and minorities;
  • Explore the role that civil society and other non-state actors play in the protection of the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples;
  • Examine case studies related to specific minority groups and issues related to “hate speech” and social media;
  • Moderate discussions to allow participants to express their views and debate the issues.

The Summer School aims to:

  • Explore current norms, issues, and challenges related to “hate speech”, social media and minorities;
  • Discuss and understand the roles that human rights institutions, civil society, and other non-state actors, including the private sector, play in the protection of the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples;
  • Examine and present case studies related to specific minority groups and indigenous peoples in the context of issues related to “hate speech” and social media;
  • Provide participants with a forum for discussing key minority rights and indigenous issues, share their experiences, and learn from colleagues with a variety of backgrounds and opinions.

The Summer School is envisaged as a space for meeting, consulting and debating with authoritative academics, practitioners, public servants and decision-makers. It provides excellent networking opportunities and the chance to share experiences and discuss current research projects. The program is complemented by interactive and informative cultural events.

Information about previous Global Minority Rights Summer Schools is available here. In addition, videos from previous years are available at this link.

Location and Institutions

The Summer School will be hosted by the NUPS Faculty of International and European Studies, located at Ludovika tér 2, Budapest, Hungary, in a nice green environment, close to the city center. Accommodation and meals will be offered at the campus of the faculty at the same location.

Further Information (LINK)