Lessons from “National Dialogue”: Live with Understandings and Stop Hate Speech
Youth Co:Lab has opened up new experiences for youths from across the country, who attended the event on 1-3 November 2019. The 10 teams had an opportunity to discuss initiatives on how youths can contribute to conflict prevention and how to live with understandings and diversity. They also had an opportunity to be part of a “National Dialogue,” to discuss the findings from the report on the situation of “Inter-faith Relationships in Thai Society” under the theme “Embracing Diversity.” In the past few years, we have witnessed a rise in tensions between people with diverse identities, cultures, and religions, particularly in an online world. Social media has played a significant part in amplifying these tensions and hatred, which sometimes spilled over into an offline space.
In 2019, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has collaborated with Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (SAC) to assess the extent of online hate speeches by investigating the use of languages, communications, and the expression of opinions on social media. The goal is to foster a better understanding about the situation in order to come up with appropriate measures that can prevent the spread of hatred and violence in Thai society through embracing the culture of acceptance and respect for diversity.
The dialogue centered around a paradigm of hatred in Thai society. Representatives from several sectors participating in the dialogue, including government, private sector, civil society, academia, media, and youths.
During the dialogue, the findings from the study were presented to participants. Four key takeaways were drawn from the study of “Hate Speech in Social Media.”
01 Four levels of hate speech
This report used the methodology of text mining in online platforms, such as Facebook, in order to collect information that was then used to classify 4 types of hate speech, including:
- Expressing intense dislike: Create stereotypes and allies against opposite beliefs
e.g., we’re not like them, they’re heretics! they’re deadwood!
- Instigating hatred: Provoking statements that dehumanize others
e.g., You scumbag, Selfish, I’ll have your mouth stuffed with pork! You’re not human!
- Provoking segregation: Express the need of eviction
e.g., Leave the country! We can’t live together! Just go ahead with the secession!
- Fueling violence: Incite the physical violence to eliminate opposite sides
e.g., Kill them all! Shoot them! Why keep the scum of earth?
02 The situation of Hate Speech in the current online world is in the 2nd Stage.
The report found that the current online world in our country mostly uses the 2nd type of hate speech which stirs up hatred and encourages provoking statement that dehumanizes others. Now is the time for concerted efforts to move Thai society pass the worrying stage we are in.
It’s better… that we had time to talk before the situation gets worse and harder to solve.
It’s better …that we were aware of the problems in front of us before we won’t have a chance to discuss this.
It’s better that we knew that this wasn’t a small issue before people start to pick up guns and kill each other
It’s better that we started to fix this together.
03 Understanding Counter Speech
By participating in this event, we learned a new term called “Counter Speech” which means the informative argument against hate speech, that are used to contradict to the detrimental opinions. This counter speech persuades online listeners or readers to stop and reconsider the conventional belief they always have.
04 We need to collaborate to reduce “Hate Speech”
The most significant message in “the National Dialogue” was that we need collaboration from all sectors to reduce keyboard abuse and extreme concepts by exchanging ideas in a constructive manner and together creating a better society in the future.
The findings from the study of “Hate speech in Social Media” or “the Decline of Tolerance that Causes Hate Speech in Social Media” reminded us to stop and think before typing anything negative on social media.