UNITAMS, UNCCT and UNESCO Enhancing the capacities of Sudanese to combat hate speech and preventing violent extremism

31 Aug 2021

UNITAMS, UNCCT and UNESCO Enhancing the capacities of Sudanese to combat hate speech and preventing violent extremism

The Transitional Government in Sudan emphasized the need to enhance the capacity of government officials and media organizations in areas most impacted by the negative effects of hate speech. Therefore, the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), jointly with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and UNESCO, and in coordination with Teeba press, delivered a series of workshops and roundtable discussions for journalists, young activists and government officials on countering hate speech and preventing violent extremism.

The workshops targeted more than 120 communications officers across government ministries, journalists, and media professionals coming from South Kordofan, Darfur, Blue Nile, and the Eastern States (Kassala, Red State, and Gadarif) – regions most impacted by hate speech and violence motivated by misinformation and disinformation.

The workshops with journalists resulted in participants independently producing and collectively signing a “declaration of commitment to combating hate speech and violent extremist narratives in their regions”.

Two roundtable discussions were also held with 28 youth activists and 25 media leaders from across Sudan. The roundtable with youth resulted in participants writing an individual commitment to mobilize to combat hate speech in their communities and advocate for tolerance, peace, and harmony in their universities.

The workshop ended with a closing ceremony attended by officials from the Government and the United Nations, including the Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Transformation, H.E. Mr. Hashim Hasabelrasoul, the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Information, Mr. Rashid Saeed Yagoub, as well as UNITAMS SRSG Mr. Volker Perthes.

In his remarks, Mr. Hasabelrasoul stated: ”Our country is now embarking on a new era, with a new national vision to promote peace, freedom, and justice. The curtain has dropped on a regime that encouraged hatred and discrimination among Sudanese and foreigners. Combating hate speech should become a high priority of the transitional Government, one of the country's strategic objectives to ensure peaceful and secure coexistence for sustainable development and stable society”.

UNITAMS SRSG, Mr. Perthes, added “When talking about democracy, human rights, and sustainable peace, we must turn our attention to the significant role played by new media technologies. We all witnessed how digital media has become a frontline in the battle against authoritarianism in Sudan and social media's crucial role in the Sudanese revolution. However, while offering opportunities for communication and freedom of opinion, digital platforms have also expanded the power and prospects for hate speech and antagonistic behaviors. I wish to emphasize the need for concerted efforts of the concerned parties, including government, media, international and intergovernmental organizations, civil society, educational and religious institutions, to work hand in hand to disseminate a culture of dialogue and peaceful coexistence amongst all social, religious, ethnic, political and cultural components." 

To read the full story in Arabic, click HERE.