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Schools must realise that classroom bullying continues online – Cyber Crime Head (Malta)

7/4/2014- The scourge of school bullying has moved beyond the classroom and into the realm of the internet, making it difficult for schools to distinguish between what does and does not fall within the limits of their responsibility. Inspector Timothy Zammit, head of the Police’s Cyber Crime Unit, says that the educational system in general needs to be aware of what is occurring on the internet. Bullying, he points out, does not happen in isolation purely on social media sites such as Ask.FM and Facebook. “What is going on on the internet is an extension of what is taking place in real life. In the past, schools adopted the approach that what takes place until the child boards the school minibus is their responsibility and what takes places at home is not. Nowadays, schools have started to realise that what is starting off in the classroom is continuing on the internet.”

So-called cyber bullying is not a crime in itself. Rather, the different types of harassment to which a person may be subjected are what constitute a crime. “From a legal point of view you do not find the words ‘cyber bullying’ or ‘bullying’ in Law. What is illegal is the form that cyber bullying takes.” Inspector Zammit elaborated by saying that if someone punched you in the face, this would not be a question of bullying by punching; it is classified as “harm”. “If I break your laptop just to bully you,” he said, “that is ‘wilful damage’. If I offend you, this is ‘insults and threats,’ which is a criminal offence. “Our law does not distinguish between those crimes taking place in real life and those taking place in the virtual world, the reason being that if we are going to have a law for the internet itself, that law would have to be constantly updated. We are fortunate to have legislation which is pretty much technology neutral.”

‘Ask.Fm is not bad in itself’
In response to a story carried last week in this paper on the bullying suffered by Lisa Maria Zahra on Ask.Fm, the site reported that it has 34,000 Maltese users. A social welfare agency said it receives three reports a week of abuse of adolescents on Ask.Fm. Inspector Zammit believes that sites like Ask.Fm should not be demonised. He says that it is the people who are using the tool irresponsibly who are breaking the law, not the website itself. “We do not consider Ask.Fm as being different from any other social network. It is a tool; it is there to be used. Some people, a minority, are misusing it and abusing the tool.

“With 34,000 Ask.fm users in Malta and around 200 reports filed a year, if we combine the complaints received by Agenzija Appogg and the Police concerning misuse of this site, Ask.FM is on the same level as any other social network and the internet itself. “That’s one of the reasons why we are taking the approach that Ask.fm is not bad in itself, it’s the people who are abusing it that are breaking the law.” Inspector Zammit does concede that the anonymous element on Ask.Fm does facilitate abuse, but the website is cooperating with the Maltese authorities. “The site’s administrators are still retaining information on anonymous posts, and when requested by the Police are passing on this information. In actual fact, they are not facilitating the crime, it is simply a function on the website that is being misused.”

He explains that there is a very fine line between getting the Police involved in online bullying cases and treating the matter as a social issue. He says that the Be Smart Online campaign has helped the Police cooperate more with other stakeholders such as Appogg and the Commissioner for Children in order to determine the best way of handling such cases. “I may come across a situation that is not a crime in itself, but would be more relevant to the Internet Hotline Team within Appogg. If there is a minor issue of bullying going on, do we want to go down the route of taking children to court? Or is that a social issue? “Usually we try to leave Police intervention as a last resort. If it’s something that can be addressed at school level, then it is best handled there. If it cannot be handled at school level, or is too complicated, then we can maybe involve the Education Department or Appogg. This also shows children that the consequences of wrongdoing escalate, depending on the severity of their actions. “It is ultimately, however, the parents’ decision as to whether or not they want to involve the Police. The Police are duty-bound to investigate every criminal complaint. We will still investigate online insults because it is a criminal offence.”

What constitutes ‘indecent material’ is subjective
Much like cyber bullying, Maltese law does not make specific mention of “child pornography”. Rather, the law uses the term “child indecent material”. Such a wide-ranging term does not provide a restrictive definition to what type of material would be considered illegal. Inspector Zammit explains that in such situations, the Police look at the context of the material found. “A photo of a baby having its nappy changed is considered acceptable in a photo album. Is it considered acceptable when such a photograph is exchanged over the internet or is included among a collection of similar photographs? “It is all about context. Each case is treated on its own merits. When we are talking about child abuse, and indecent child material, we are talking of around 15 to 20 cases a year, which is not a lot. Most of the cases are related to possession rather than the production of such images.” The Cyber Crimes Head points out that social media is being used and misused by all types of perpetrators. “Fraudsters no longer have to be savvy people wearing a smart suit. They are now using social networks. An individual who wants to maybe befriend you for other purposes will obviously use a social networking profile.”

Unsupervised internet access a ‘recipe for disaster’
Inspector Zammit drives home the point that parental supervision and communication with their children are vital in order to pick up on and prevent instances of abuse and bullying carried out through the internet. “The element of parental supervision is very important. Although children know how to use technology they are not aware of the dangers. A parent, although not as conversant as the child in the use of technology, will probably be able to figure out that there is something wrong. Parents should also look for changes in the behaviour of the child and know where they can seek help. “If we simply give a child access to a device and we don’t supervise it, it is a recipe for disaster. A few years ago we used to talk about the importance of the computer being in a common room in the household where the parents can look over the child’s shoulder to see what they are doing. “With the use of smart phones or laptops we cannot say keep a child away from technology, rather, you have to teach a child how to make best use of technology and address situations that they are uncomfortable with.” Inspector Zammit says that parents can always feel free to contact the Police or Appogg through its internet abuse hotline. “From an educational point of view, we do not have to keep on solely addressing the formal academic qualifications; we have to prepare children for their adult life. If we keep them sheltered throughout their childhood, they will eventually realise that the adult world is not all a bed of roses.”

Cyber Crimes Unit faces ongoing battle
Inspector Zammit admits that the Cyber Crimes Unit faces an ongoing battle with new technologies emerging regularly. “From a resources point of view, technology is advancing continuously and we can never say that we have done enough. The moment I say that, it’s admitting defeat. The Cyber Crime Unit started off in 2003 and received one report a week. Last year, it handled two new cases almost every single day. “Statistics alone, however, do not do justice to the actual work that is carried out by the team since the complexity of every case has increased. When I joined in 2007, a seized computer would normally have an 80 gigabyte hard disk drive. Nowadays, a computer system bought for home use would have a 2 Terrabyte hard disk drive – that is around 2000 gigabytes. Also, the number of devices available to each person has multiplied. This means that it is not just the amount of equipment seized that is increasing, the amount of data that has to be processed has increased drastically.”

The Unit is active in going out into the community and raising awareness on the dangers of internet use. “The Cyber Crime Unit visits schools around two to three times a week. I am aware that Appogg, through the Be Smart Online and the Commissioner for Children also hold events in schools and youth organisations.” The Malta Communications Authority has a teacher tasked with carrying out internet safety presentations in classrooms. Last year, the emphasis in secondary schools was raising awareness on the digital footprint, that is the traces of personal information a user divulges about himself while making use of the internet. This scholastic year, the campaign has targeted primary schoolchildren with a message about digital citizenship.
© The Malta Independent

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Blog outing online racists causes a stir (Germany)

A blog which posts pictures and names of internet users who make racist comments online has caused a stir in Germany and has had its Facebook page shut. Is it going too far?

5/4/2014- The blog, called Lookismus gegen Rechts, launched on platform Tumblr in February and has posted dozens of photos of people who have made racist comments online, including posts in support of the far right scene and the neo-Nazi party, the NPD. It aims to expose those making the comments by publishing their Facebook photos or profiles next to their comments. It keeps the first name and photo of the commentator but deletes the person’s surname. Stern magazine described the blog as a “bizarre collection of relatively hateful statements”. Many of the photos are equally bizarre with the keyboard racists pictured on beaches, topless in snow and in swimming trunks. The founder of the blog, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Stern: “I have set the bar high in terms of the hatred of the person and the stupidity of the comments [for it to appear on the blog].”

The blog aims to “take the wind out of the sails of” the commentators, the founder added. He got the idea after reading a string of hateful comments on the Facebook page of a national newspaper which posted an article about the victims of right-wing violence. Lookismus gegen Rechts has stirred a debate in Germany about whether postings online should remain anonymous or whether those who post racist comments should be named and shamed. On Twitter and Facebook the blog has been met with a mainly positive reaction. But is it going too far by posting photos and names? Facebook locked the profile page of Lookismus gegen Rechts on Wednesday evening. By that point the page had 2,700 likes. And the founder said that the far right commentators were “denouncing themselves” by making their posts public.
© The Local - Germany

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“Digital natives” turn to parents and teachers for digital literacy skills, new study finds (Canada)

Canadian youth are not as digitally literate as adults may think they are, according to new research released today by MediaSmarts. Though today’s young people have grown up immersed in digital media, they still rely on parents and teachers to help them advance their skills in areas such as searching and verifying online information.

31/3/2014- MediaSmarts, a Canadian not-for-profit organization, surveyed over 5,400 students in classrooms across the country on their Internet behaviours and attitudes for its Young Canadians in a Wired World study. The fourth report from the survey findings – Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills – explores the level of young people’s digital literacy, how they are learning these skills and how well digital technologies are being used in classrooms to support digital literacy. The research shows that although students are actively engaging with digital media through social networking, gaming and video streaming, they are learning and applying only the digital skills they consider essential to the context of the task. For example, across all age groups, youth use a variety of strategies to verify online information, but will often only put their skills to use if they see an immediate benefit to doing so, such as for a school project. Youth are eager to learn more skills, with teachers being one of their main sources of information; however, there are often technological barriers in the classroom such as blocked websites and a lack of access to digital devices.

“Young people are mistakenly considered experts in digital technologies because they’re so highly connected, but they are still lacking many essential digital literacy skills,” says Jane Tallim, Co-Executive Director of MediaSmarts, “Parents and teachers are playing a crucial role in teaching them to navigate the digital world, but we need to ensure that digital literacy programs reflect youth’s lived experiences so they will find the skills relevant enough to learn and apply them.”

Key findings include
# 53% of girls have learned how to search for information online from teachers compared to 38 percent of boys.
# Parents (47%) and teachers (45%) are the main sources for learning about searching for information online.
# 61% of students use more than one search engine to find information online.
# 35% of students in grades 7-11 use advanced search engine tools.
# 80% of students have received instruction in evaluating and authenticating online information.
# 46% of students (29% in Grade 4 and 72% in Grade 11) agree with the statement, “Downloading music, TV shows or movies illegally is not a big deal”.
# 36% say that they have had trouble finding something they need for their school work due to filtering software.
# 41% of Grade 9 students say their teachers have used social media to help them learn.

Young Canadians in a Wired World – Phase III: Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills was made possible by financial contributions from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Alberta Teachers’ Association.
© Media Smarts

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Headlines March 2014

Internet providers can be forced to block access to illegal downloads, rules EU Court

EU-based internet service providers can be ordered to block customers’ access to a copyright-infringing website, following a ruling on Thursday (27 March) by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

28/3/2014- The judgement follows a dispute between Austrian Internet provider Telekabel Wien and two film companies, based in Germany and Austria, over whether the internet service provider (ISP) should be forced to prevent its customers from accessing film download site kino.to, a Tonga-based website that received nearly 4 million visitors a day. Although the Austrian courts stated that Telekabel should block access to the site - which was closed down in 2011 following police action - Telekabel argued that blocking measures could be evaded by downloaders and would be "excessively costly". The EU's copyright directive gives rights holders the power to request an injunction against intermediaries who provide services that can be used to breach copyright. Despite its protestations, the EU's top court found that, as an internet provider allowing its customers to view copyrighted films and music, Telakabel could be classified as an intermediary.

"The Court notes, in that regard, that the directive, which seeks to guarantee a high level of protection of rights holders, does not require a specific relationship between the person infringing copyright and the intermediary against whom an injunction may be issued," it said. "Internet users and also, indeed, the ISP must be able to assert their rights," the Court added. The UK and Ireland are among a handful of countries already taking action to block access to sites such as Swedish-based download site Pirate Bay, through ISPs. In a statement, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a music industry lobby group welcomed the ruling which it said confirmed that "copyright is itself a fundamental right requiring protection." "The decision by the ECJ today confirming that website blocking does not infringe fundamental rights in the EU is an important clarification that will strengthen the ability of music and other creative industries to tackle piracy," IFPI added.

The ECJ ruling marks a volte face from a ruling by the same court in 2011 which found that Belgian internet provider Belgacom Scarlet, could not be forced by a national court to block users from illegally sharing music and video files.
© The EUobserver

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Online resource gives a voice to victims of racism (Ireland)

Victims of racism can tell their stories online at iReport, which records the number of incidents per region and raises awareness, says Jonathan deBurca Butler

I was in a taxi being driven home. The man started to talk about ‘blacks’. He said a hotel in Cork, which has been closed since 2009 due to flooding, was only fit for the ‘blacks’. He said “they should put them all in there”... “The ‘blacks’ are getting everything ...”

27/3/2014- The quote above is from a case that was sent to a racist-incident reporting system, iReport, which was launched last July by the Irish division of the European Network Against Racism, ENAR Ireland. It enables victims and witnesses to go online and give accounts of racism. “We designed it to meet the best standards for international comparators for racist-incident monitoring, but also to maximise its accessibility,” says ENAR Ireland’s director, Shane O’Curry. “So, online, the form is easy to use and quick, and the language is simple. It asks as few questions as possible, so as not to be off-putting for users.” iReport allows victims to go into more detail about their case, and this may be cathartic for victims. The incidents range from the so-called ‘every day’, casual taunt, such as name-calling, to physical violence. Unsurprisingly, due to its population, Dublin had by far the most cases of reported racist incidents in the system’s first quarterly report. North Dublin accounted for a third of total cases. The rest of the country is by no means immune.

In the St Patrick’s Hill area of Cork City, Muslims who had been attending prayer, in the mid-afternoon, were attacked with sticks by men who had travelled by car to do so. In Limerick, an Asian man had water thrown at him and was verbally abused by a group of youths passing in a car, while a Muslim woman was verbally abused in a shopping centre before being kicked. She reported the incident to the Gardaí, but she has lost confidence in them. Of the 55 incidents in Munster, only nine were reported to the Gardaí; 35 were not reported to the Gardaí; and in the remainder the witness did not know if the incident had been reported to the authorities or not. In many cases, victims feel either too intimidated to go to the Gardaí or think it is pointless. Several, recently published reports suggest that minorities in comparable Western countries are also disinclined to report racist abuse or violence. They feel that all avenues lead to the State, which they often regard with suspicion. As a result, an estimated two-thirds of cases go unreported.

With iReport, ENAR Ireland is hoping to change perceptions among minorities. It sees the removal of barriers to reporting, and a willingness to give voice to the victim, as key. “This system was designed with bridging that gap in mind,” says O’Curry. “People can use this system immediately and without having to go through a mediating body. “Often, within minorities that are racially abused, you develop a sort of thick character around you and you don’t talk about it. Especially among black Africans, Roma and Travellers, their experience of racism is so everyday that it’s unremarkable to them, and they often wouldn’t bother reporting it. “So, tackling that culture is quite difficult and what we’re telling people is that if they give us a story, we will retell it. “We’ll synopsise it and get it out there, but we’ll also crunch the data on it and see if it’s information that we can use to show relationships between, for instance, name-calling and physical attacks. Ultimately, we need to produce data which strengthens our arguments to get better measures to be taken by the State to combat racism.”

While 46% of the incidents in Ireland were reported by victims, 35% of the reports were submitted by witnesses. That augurs well for what O’Curry sees as the ultimate goal of the site. While the system is being brought to the attention of bodies such as student unions, local authorities and trade unions, O’Curry’s hope is that “this anti-racism tool becomes embedded in mainstream civil society” and that Irish society “becomes an ally in anti-racism”. “My hope for it is that the Government, and Irish society, will sit up and take note of the depths of racism in Ireland and do something about it.” Thankfully, it appears the vast majority of people in Ireland hope for the same.
For more information visit: enarireland.org
© The Irish Examiner

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How the BNP hijacked Facebook (UK, Opinion)

By Jamie Bartlett, Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think tank Demos. He specialises in online culture and the dark net. He is currently writing a book on internet subcultures to be published in 2014 by William Heinemann.

26/3/2014- Radical movements are often the first to pick up on the new opportunities presented by modern technology, because it gives an outlet and platform often denied by mainstream media. In 1990, the white supremacist movement Stormfront was the perhaps the first political movement in the US to have a Bulletin Board System (for younger readers, these were a cross between a forum and a website, and were the main way people got on line in the Eighties – go and check them out). For most of the 2000s, the British National Party had the most active and best designed website in UK politics. Maybe they still do. According to the Alexa Rankings, the BNP’s website is currently the 4,331st most popular site in the UK. Labour comes in at 5,937, the Conservative Party at 10,347.

In my research on radical nationalist parties and Facebook from 2012, I found that these parties all across Europe were using modern media far more effectively than mainstream parties. And many of them find that Facebook group administrators and mods are now every bit as important as the local organiser. As I’ve argued here before, in an era when political party membership is tumbling and more of us spend our time online, political parties will have to start using social media as an alternative.

And the BNP is again proving more innovative online than the established parties. Last year, the BNP launched a new app on their Facebook page to incentivise their online supporters to spread the party message. If you go onto the BNP’s Facebook page, sandwiched between "membership" and "photos" is "online activism". It works like this: every time you share a BNP story on Facebook or Twitter, "like" their content, or mention certain key words in your social media posts, you earn points that push you up a leaderboard. (That also injects a bit of co-ordination for the leadership: because the leaders can choose the key words they want competitors to use). If you come top of the scoreboard that month, you win a 20 quid voucher for Excalibur, a patriotic version of eBay that sells all sorts of St George’s or BNP-themed goods (including a lot of Gollywogs). Second place: an annual subscription to the BNP’s Voice of Freedom magazine.

But the smart bit of this is not the prizes, it’s the fact that they’ve gamified the app. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, gamification refers to "the application of concepts and techniques from games to other areas of activity". In short, make us compete like it’s a game, and we’ll do more. Gamification has become very popular in the business world, and has recently been applied to a wide range of subjects, including marketing, HR, and even schooling. 2011 saw the first ever Gamification Conference, held in San Francisco.

In its first month, June 2013, 400 activists registered to play – and the BNP estimated (not sure how far to trust these figures, but they seem plausible)that it generated nearly 5,000 extra site visits to their Facebook page within a few weeks, and helped them reach more a quarter of a million more social media accounts by virtue of their supporters sharing more links. They reckon that by the end of 2013, 700 activists were using it, reaching 390,000 new social media accounts. Either way, the BNP is doing very well on Facebook. It has over 100,000 Facebook friends. The Conservative Party has around 160,000. Lib Dems have 93,000. UKIP aside, the BNP has picked up more new "likes" over the last five weeks (3,300) than the others (Tory – 1,800; Labour – 2,500; Lib Dems – 650).

I checked the other parties’ Facebook pages, and couldn’t find any apps like it. Although both the Tories and Labour have iPhone apps, which provide users with policy information, I think the BNP are the first party to gamify their social media activism. Of course, even with their glitzy app the BNP isn’t going to challenge the big parties. Votes, not social media likes, are what matters. But the other parties would do well to take a look at what parties like the BNP do on social media to try to reach more people. If the bigger parties don’t adapt, others will step in: look at the story of Beppe Grillo in Italy. The comedian-blogger-politician ran on a vehemently anti-establishment ticket, selecting his candidates online and refusing to give any interviews to the Italian media. He communicated instead through his own blog and used his Facebook fans and Twitter followers like real party members – they campaigned and canvassed for him. Most importantly, they voted. One in four Italians chose his Five Star Movement at last year’s National Elections.

Back in July 2013, the BNP boasted about its new app in its newsletter: "the other political parties will be falling over themselves to follow the precedent set by the BNP, but we have the head start". I don’t say this too often, but I agree with Nick.
© The Telegraph - Blogs

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Radical Islam Website Readers May Be Prosecuted (UK)

The Metropolitan Police has warned people who seek out and read radical Islamist publications online they could face prosecution.

24/3/2014- The caution comes after an online radical al Qaeda-linked magazine, Inspire, incited its readers to attack public events in the West. The Met also issued a formal advisory to other police forces following the publication of the spring 2014 issue of the title. A spokesman for the force said: "The MPS Counter Terrorism Command is aware of the websites and appropriate steps have been put in place, including providing security advice where relevant. "The public is reminded that viewing downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offence under Section 1 and 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. "As part of our continued work, we regularly work with, and support, industry, the organisers of sporting events and companies overseeing crowded places with a variety of briefings and advice."

Inspire is an English language online magazine which bears the emblem of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen. However, editorial and technological flaws have raised doubts about the publication's authenticity. Inspire began publishing in 2010, and its first issue included a now infamous article titled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom" that instructed would-be violent jihadists to use materials commonly found in a household kitchen, such as a pressure cooker. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly admitted to investigators that he and his brother Tamerlan learned how to build the bombs used in the marathon attack in April last year by reading the magazine. The latest issue of the magazine urges jihadists to target heavily populated events such as political rallies and sporting events, both in the US and abroad - including in the UK, France and other "crusading" countries.
© Sky News

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Changes to racial discrimination laws would 'open door for Holocaust deniers' (Australia)

26/3/2014- Attorney-General George Brandis was adamant on Wednesday morning that his proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act will not license Holocaust denial. “It all depends on the particular facts but, might I remind you, that racial vilification would always capture the concept of Holocaust denial,” he told ABC Radio. “I can't see how Holocaust denial fails to be racial vilification.” But advocates on both sides of the Racial Discrimination Act debate disagree with the Attorney-General. Jewish community leader Jeremy Jones and free marketer Chris Berg believe exemptions in Brandis' draft legislation would make it easier for Holocaust revisionists such as Fredrick Toben – who was eventually jailed after being found guilty of breaching the RDA – to spread their message. Denying the Holocaust is not technically illegal in Australia, but it can fall foul of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act (which makes it unlawful to intimidate, offend, humiliate or insult on the basis of race). This most famously occurred in the case of Toben v Jones (2003) in which Jeremy Jones, then director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, argued Toben's Adelaide Institute website vilified Jews. “People were horrified this was legal in Australia,” Jones said.

In a landmark decision, the Federal Court found that some pages on the website did breach the act – particularly those that imputed Jews people who are offended by Holocaust denial are of limited intelligence, that Jews had exaggerated the number of Jews killed in World War II and had done so for financial gain. Furthermore, it was found that Toben had not published in good faith. Toben was eventually jailed for contempt of court when he refused to stop publishing such material. According to Institute of Public Affairs research fellow Chris Berg, who supports repealing the Act in its current form: “Under the draft legislation it's pretty clear the material Frederick Toben wrote would be legal.” The reason for this, Berg says, are the “incredibly powerful” exceptions in Brandis' draft bill. Although the bill prohibits vilification or intimidation on the basis of race, it “does not apply to words, sounds, images or writing spoken broadcast, published or otherwise communicated in the course of participating in the public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter”.

Jones, now at the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council, fears this broad exemption would protect Holocaust deniers who vilify Jews under the guise of historical research or political discussion. Jones says 18C has helped protect Jews from vilification in other cases – including when a Queensland One Nation newspaper apologised for publishing articles alleging Jews were trying to destroy Australia's moral fabric. Google also agreed to change its algorithm when searches using the terms "Jew" and "Australian" delivered racist, conspiracy-laden sites as its top results. “You would be changing something that works to something that may or may not work,” he said. Berg says blatant examples of racial abuse would be outlawed under Brandis' law – including a past case where someone was called “Singoporean prick”. “Fredrick Toben's views are obviously abhorrent and absurd but I don't think you should use the law to suppress this type of speech,” he said. “One of the things about freedom of speech is you have to defend the rights of people whose views you find abhorrent and you disagree with strongly."
© The Sydney Morning Herald

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Immigrant Council: People posting racist comments online should be sanctioned (Ireland)

21/3/2014- The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) has said that people who “spread messages of hate” online should be sanctioned. Today the council called for a National Action Plan to combat racism as new figures confirm that 58 cases have been reported to it since the start of this year. ICI also published a detailed submission with recommendations for the Oireachtas Justice Committee including the ratification of European Conventions on cyber crime to ensure a robust response to online racism. The organisation said the biggest problem is that servers for websites are often in a different jurisdiction and so there are no powers here to punish people. Chief Executive Denise Charlton said it is “unacceptable that individuals and groups can go online to spread messages of hate with no fear of prosecution”. ICI’s Jerry O’Connor also said that the implementation of recommendations made in hearings about bullying on social media would actually cover a lot of the racism spread through these sites. “We’d like to see our submission move to public hearings so that this area can be explored but we would want to see recommendations acted upon,” he said. The recommendations made to the Justice Committee also include the adoption of policies by all public bodies to state there is no acceptable level of racism and the establishment of a centralised database and use of the garda PULSE system to ensure accurate reporting.
© The Journal Ireland

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Outcry at Nazi Facebook page vilifying Syrians

21/3/2014- Public outrage over a Facebook page titled “Neo-Nazis against Syrian Refugees,” led dozens to call for its closure Thursday. The Arabic page, which was launched in August 2013, features a profile picture of Adolf Hitler and a swastika, the symbol identified with the German dictator’s Nazi regime. In inflammatory language, posts demand the “purification”of Lebanon, calling for Syrian refugees to be expelled and lamenting the country’s socio-economic state. The founder of the page describes the group as a “Nazi movement that is against the presence of strangers on Lebanese lands.” “Let the vile Syrians leave Lebanon,” reads one post, which continues: “Lebanon is a nation for patriotic and honest Lebanese.” “We demand the holocaust for the vile Syrians,” reads another. Another promises “The Lebanese Nazi movement will continue to be a pioneer movement against the Syrian presence in Lebanon.”

Other posts, which included messages such as: “There is a woman whose dog has died, so she decided not to buy another one because the country is filled with dogs residing under bridges,” provoked strong reactions from rights groups. Lebanon’s rampant unemployment was raised repeatedly in the posts, which attributed it to competition from Syrians. One read: “In Beirut, 330,000 jobs were lost for the Lebanese to Syrians, which is a great injustice. There is no one to protect us or give a damn.” According to page statistics, users who visited the page were between 25-34 years of age. While the group appears to have peaked with about 141 “likes,” Anti-Racism Movement activist Farah Salka described its content as “very scary.” She is among many calling for its closure. “What he says is no different from what some politicians say, but more people are doing something about it,” Salka said, referring to comments made by former Telecoms Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui, who said the issue of Syrian refugees was a matter of “preserving our being.”

In the past two days numerous concerned users have reported the site, according to Salka, but it was still running Thursday evening. A Facebook representative did not respond when asked by The Daily Star to comment on the page. Salka claims to have identified the page’s founder, after he allegedly commented on an article in Al-Modon about discrimination against Syrian refugees. The article featured a photograph of a wall in Sodeco, Beirut, defaced with graffiti that read: “To every vile Syrian, leave.” In the comment, the individual claimed responsibility for the graffiti. When Salka tracked down his Facebook profile, she saw that the page was mentioned on his wall. “We know there is racism and xenophobia, but this was the first time we saw it packaged in such an [explicit] form,” she said.
© The Lebanese Daily Star

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YouTube Blocks Kremlin-Funded Russia Today Channel

18/3/2014- The YouTube channel of state-funded Russia Today news outlet has been suspended due to "multiple or severe violations" of the site's policy one day after the outcome of the Crimea independence referendum. A statement on the channel's account reads: "This account has been suspended due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube's policy against spam, gaming, misleading content or other Terms of Service violations". Russia Today said the same thing happened exactly two years ago and "it took several hours to bring RT's YouTube channel back online". In 2012, the channel was kept offline for about eight hours. YouTube said it was a mistake and apologised for the incident. "As a world leading news producer on YouTube we value timely information and regret the service fail to the half-million people logging on this morning. We look forward to clearing this up ASAP," said RT's head of social media Ivor Crotty.

Russia Today has been criticised for its passionate bias towards president Putin. An English-language network aimed at a global audience, RT broadcasts news, documentaries and talk show with a strong pro-Russian stance. In its coverage of the Crimea invasion, RT repeated the official Kremlin line about troops being local self-defence forces. Earlier in March, American anchor Liz Wahl, Washington-based correspondent for RT-America, quit on air because of the channel's "whitewashing" coverage of Moscow's military intervention in Crimea. Last month Russia Today (RT) anchor Abby Martin spoke against Russia's invasion of Crimea during a live broadcast.
UPDATE: RT's YouTube Channel is back online with no explanation given for its suspension.
© The International Business Times - UK

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“Mean girl” stereotype not supported in new national cyberbullying study (Canada)

18/3/2014- New national research indicates that Canadian youth face a range of mean and cruel online behaviours with varying degrees of seriousness and impact – with girls more likely than boys to be the recipients. The sweeping study conducted by MediaSmarts looks at the prevalence and impact of cyberbullying among students in every province and territory. Despite popular conceptions of the “mean girl”, boys are more likely to report being mean or cruel online, while girls are more likely to have mean things said about them. Girls are also much more likely than boys to say that cyberbullying has been a serious problem for them. The research also highlights the complexity of online relationships through the significant overlap between youth who have been cyberbullied and those who cyberbully others, suggesting that much of the meanness that takes place online in part reflects reciprocal conflict in young people’s relationships.

“While most students who report having been cyberbullied say it wasn’t a serious problem for them, we know that one in ten young people have been seriously impacted by online meanness or cruelty,” says Jane Tallim, Co-Executive Director of MediaSmarts. “The research gives us a deeper understanding of the motivations and impacts of cyberbullying, which is critical to ensuring that interventions effectively target those youth who are most at risk.” The not-for-profit organization surveyed over 5,400 students in classrooms across the country on their Internet behaviours and attitudes as part of its Young Canadians in a Wired World study. Cyberbullying: Dealing with Online Meanness, Cruelty and Threats, which was released today at the 46th Banff International Conference on Behavioural Science, looks at youths’ experiences with online conflict, the strategies they use to deal with this and who they turn to for support.

Key findings include:
+ 37 percent of students report that someone has said or done something mean or cruel to them online that made them feel badly and 11 percent of students say it was a serious problem for them. 
+ 23 percent of students report that they have said or done something mean or cruel to someone online and 9 percent report having made online threats. 
55 percent of students who participate in mean online behaviour say they were just joking around. 
There is a significant overlap (39%) between students who have said or done mean things and students who have had mean things said about or done to them. 
65% of students say they have done something to help someone who was being picked on online. 
+ Young people say they are most likely to turn to parents for help. Though schools are an important source of education about cyberbullying, teachers are among the last people students turn to if an issue arises. 
Boys are more likely than girls to harass someone in an online game, make fun of someone’s race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation, sexually harass someone and make online threats. 
Boys are just as likely to spread online rumours as girls. 
+ Girls are more likely than boys to post an embarrassing photo or video or call someone a name.

Young Canadians in a Wired World – Phase III: Cyberbullying: Dealing with Online Meanness, Cruelty and Threats.
Future reports based on this data will look at students’ habits, activities and attitudes towards: offensive content; online relationships; and digital literacy in the classroom and in the home.
© Media Smarts

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Belgian group mulls legal action over anti-Semitic Twitter joke

18/3/2014- A Belgian watchdog on anti-Semitism warned that it was preparing to take legal action against the online propagators of an anti-Semitic joke about the Holocaust. The Belgian League against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, issued the threat regarding a photograph of an oven with paper money inside bearing the caption “The Jew trap is set.” The photo surfaced earlier this month on Twitter and later Facebook. “This disgusting and unacceptable new joke has a double insult,” said LBCA President Joel Rubinfeld. “It alludes to the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews are greedy and to the crematoria that Nazis used to burn Jews during the Holocaust.” The tweet and the Facebook post have been removed, though it is unclear whether the users or the companies removed them. One of the photo’s early disseminators was a Twitter user from Belgium using the handle Simree Dikule. Thousands of additional users re-tweeted the picture, which was posted also on Facebook by a student of the Bracops Lambert High School near Brussels, the La Capitale daily reported Tuesday. The student, who was identified only as “M.,” wrote on Facebook, “It’s racist, but it’s funny.”

Last year, a French court forced the California-based Twitter social network to divulge information on users who had disseminated anti-Semitic jokes. The UEJF French Jewish student union sued Twitter after the hashtags #unbonjuif (“a good Jew”) and #unjuifmort (“a dead Jew”) became hugely popular because they were used in what Le Monde termed “a competition of anti-Semitic jokes.” Hashtags are labels used to index tweets on a particular topic. Twitter argued that as an American company, it adhered to U.S. laws on hate speech, which are far more liberal than those of France and many other European countries. But the French court ruled that the French blogosphere and online interaction between French residents constituted French public space, where French legislation against hate speech applies.
© JTA News.

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What do Australian internet users think about racial vilification?

16/3/2014- Some time in the near future, federal attorney-general George Brandis will take a proposal to cabinet to amend or repeal the racial vilifications provisions (Sections 18C and 18D) of the Racial Discrimination Act. Brandis does not believe that debate on the laws is about racial vilification. Instead, he argues that the issue is about the regulation of free speech. He claims to be concerned about vilification, but intimates vilification should be limited to words that would cause a reasonable person to undertake a criminal act against the targeted group.

Our new study of internet users has direct relevance to the possible changes. In 2012-13, the Australian Human Rights Commission received 192 complaints of racial hatred, of which 79 (about 41%) were about internet hate – all lodged under Section 18C. The first results of our online survey, which is yet to be published, of over 2100 Australian internet users reveals a place where racism is rampant, according to our respondents. The findings presents some challenging data for those who propose to weaken the laws that prohibit the offending, insulting, humiliating and intimidating of people on the basis of race.

According to our survey, only 10% support making it lawful to offend without a legitimate defence (as provided for by Section 18D). Only 5% believe people should be totally free to intimidate up to the edge of criminality. This latter position is in line with the views espoused by influential free-market think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt, who was found to be in breach of Section 18C in 2011. Nearly 80% support laws against racial vilification. Close to 70% support laws against religious vilification.

These are not anti-free speech ideologues. Nearly half of those surveyed (47%) believe that freedom to speak your mind is more important than freedom from hate speech (neutral 32%; disagree 21%). An overwhelming majority, 73%, put the onus on websites such as Facebook and YouTube to report the complaints they receive about racism to the relevant authorities. Our sample proved to be not dissimilar in its broader views and attitudes on race, ethnicity and racism to those revealed in previous studies of Australians undertaken by two of our research team, Kevin Dunn and Yin Paradies.

The responses were overwhelming on whether those surveyed supported or opposed retaining as unlawful the four criteria that underpin Section 18C. We had expected a more equal spread of opinions, given the claims made by those who wish to repeal 18C about community attitudes that support the move. In 2011, Brandis claimed that 18C: … as presently worded, has no place in a society that values freedom of expression and democratic governance.

Currently, there is strong lobbying from the IPA and Bolt to remove the provisions that make certain forms of racial vilification unlawful: a civil, not a criminal matter. Brandis' intentions – there are no proposals yet – have been met with opposition from a broad coalition of ethnic, religious and human rights groups. It appears Australians are comfortable with the current legislation, if our study is anything to go by.

Both sides of the debate argue principles as to whether the current framing of racial vilification should be made lawful. The arguments are best encapsulated by the public positions taken on the question by Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, who argues that freedom of speech should trump all other freedoms. Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Southphommasane posits that some protection from hate speech should trump absolute freedom of speech.

These are directly opposed principles. Yet, according to our research, Australians can cope with apparently contradictory positions so long as these are not pushed to an irrational extreme. They like the idea that people have a fair amount of freedom to say what they think, to express their opinions. But they also indicate real concern for the more vulnerable and most often targeted groups in the community.

Australians distrust big websites to protect the interests of these vulnerable people, and they like the idea of some contemporary and focused regulation that would control vicious speech. The government has already indicated it plans to do exactly that in relation to cyber-bullying. Do most Australians want one principle or a balance of principles to prevail? Can we reasonably determine a shared ethics of civility on language and cultural differences – and, if so, what might that entail?

Unfortunately, the federal government has so far given no sign that it is interested in pursuing a balanced way forward.
© The Conversation

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Study: Violent Video Games Encourage Racist, Aggressive Attitudes Toward Blacks (USA)

Violent video games encourage negative racial attitudes and thoughts, with white game players displaying stronger implicit and explicit aggressive attitudes toward blacks when they play as black characters.

21/3/2014- A new study from researchers at The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan finds that white gamers who played as black avatars exhibited more racist sentiments, including connections made between blacks and weapons and photos of black people being linked to words such as “horrible” and “evil.” “This is a very troubling finding,” the researchers write in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. “Our research suggests that people who play violent video games as violent black characters are more likely to believe that blacks are violent people,” writes a research team led by Grace Yang of the University of Michigan and Brad Bushman of the Ohio State University. “Playing a violent video game as a black character reinforces harmful stereotypes that blacks are violent.”

The study examined the effects of playing violent video games as a black avatar (versus a white character) on racial stereotypes and aggression. Games such as Grand Theft Auto V and Saints Row 2 allow players to choose the race of their character, and the study findings suggest that a player’s aggression against others is increased “immediately afterwards” in some cases, “even more than playing a violent game as white characters would.” “The media has the power to perpetuate the stereotype that blacks are violent, and this is certainly seen in video games,” Bushman told The Daily Mail. “This violent stereotype may be more prevalent in video games than in any other form of media because being a black character in a video game is almost synonymous with being a violent character.”

In a second portion of the study, 141 white college students – 65 percent being female — played one of two games: WWE Smackdown vs. RAW 2010, or Fight Night Round 4. They spent equal time playing as both black and white avatars. Half the participants in one portion of the study played a violent game in which they attempted to break out of prison, “which required them to kill many guards.” Others played a non-violent game in which they were tasked with finding “a chapel somewhere in the city,” and to refrain from harming others. After playing the games for 20 minutes, participants who played as black avatars were more likely to link photos of black faces with weapons, while those who played as white characters associated white faces with objects such as mobile phones.

They were also asked to respond to statements measured on a “symbolic racism scale” such as, “If blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites.” Participants were also tested on a seemingly unrelated food preferences test in which they tested hot sauce, and then were asked how much another person would like the spicy food. Among players of the violent game, those who used a black avatar gave their “partner” more hot sauce compared to those who used a white avatar. The black avatar participants gave the hypothetical food “partner” more than double (115 percent) the amount of chili sauce than participants who played as white avatars.

The researchers suggested this element of the study was “particularly noteworthy,” because “this increase in aggression occurred over and above any increase in aggression among participants playing the violent game as a white avatar.” In addition to negative attitudes held toward black people, the study noted that women and police were depicted negatively in a way that may have aggressive effects following gameplay. “Police are portrayed as brutal. Players witnessing or enacting these violent actions may develop a distrust of police,” write the researchers. “Other violent games portray women in a sexualized and stereotypic way” that may impact male attitudes toward women in their real lives.

According to FBI data on violent crime and murder rates, in 2012, an estimated 1,214,462 violent crimes occurred nationwide, an increase of 0.7 percent from the 2011 estimate. Of the 12,765 murder victims in 2012 for which supplemental data were received, most (77.7 percent) were male. Concerning murder victims for whom race was known, 51.1 percent were black, 46.3 percent were white, and 2.6 percent were of other races. Race was unknown for 130 victims. Of the offenders for whom race was known, 52.4 percent were black, 45.2 percent were white, and 2.4 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 4,077 offenders.
© CBS - Cleveland

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Facebook makes wrong call on anti-Semitic page (USA, opinion)

Facebook's refusal to delete a page about "Jewish Ritual Murder" rekindles a simmering debate over how to respond when bigots use social networks to spread racist speech and hateful propaganda
by Abraham H. Foxman

15/3/2014- For the past several years, Facebook and several other prominent social-media companies have been wrestling with how to respond when their popular platforms are being abused by bigots to spread racist speech and hateful propaganda, including Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. Much of the debate has centered on a discussion over the difficult concept of what exactly constitutes hate speech. As defined by Facebook's own community standards, people have a right to post "ignorant and untrue material about people and events" on their personal pages. But any content that directly attacks people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion or a host of other immutable characteristics constitutes a violation of those standards and is impermissible on the Facebook platform.

In applying these standards, Facebook has chosen not to remove Holocaust denial pages that do not also contain direct attacks. We have responded by telling them that as a virulent form of anti-Semitism and an indirect attack on Jews, Holocaust denial pages are unacceptable. We feel the same way about a page on Facebook called "Jewish Ritual Murder." The page features articles and other material reviving the old libelous charge against Jews that they murder Christian children to use their blood for ritual purposes. To us, the individual who created the "Jewish Ritual Murder" is promoting anti-Semitism. But Facebook has indicated that this page, too, does not violate its community standards.

We recognize that the Internet and social media are so successful because they provide the ultimate platforms for the global exchange of ideas. At the same time, they should not be platforms for hate. This is particularly the case when corporations like Facebook, as moderators of virtual communities where young people frequently "congregate," already have rules in place to guard against bias-motivated attacks and cyberbullying. Regardless of how narrowly they are going to define hate speech, they need to have policies that allow them to exercise discretion in egregious cases such as this.

The "blood libel" refers to a centuries-old false allegation that Jews murder Christians (especially Christian children) to use their blood for religious ritual purposes such as an ingredient in the baking of Passover matzah (unleavened bread). This myth -- also sometimes called the "ritual murder charge" -- dates back to the Middle Ages, It has persisted despite Jewish denials and official repudiations by the Catholic Church and many secular authorities. The blood libel also has modern-day currency in the Arab world, where some television programs have used it as a plot line and editorial cartoonists have evoked it in their efforts to foment hatred of the Jewish people.

In truth, and it should be obvious, accusing Jews of ritual murder is a far greater attack on Jews than calling them kikes or other names. It has led to mob violence and pogroms, and has on occasion even led to the decimation of entire Jewish communities. And the libel is alive and well in today's world. We do not believe that Facebook intends to send a message that it is insensitive to the enormous harm the blood libel has caused throughout Jewish history. The easiest way for the company to make that clear would be to exercise the discretion it certainly has to remove the page.
© C Net

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Report finds most racist incidents happen during the day (Ireland)

The iReport by ENAR shows that social media is being used for racist attacks and death threats.

11/3/2014- Most racist incidents happen during the day and black Africans are the most likely to be reported victims of public racism. That’s according to the latest report by ENAR, the Irish Network Against Racism. Speaking about the Second Quarterly Report of iReport.ie, Director of ENAR Ireland Shane O’Curry said, “The latest report on racism details a variety of online incidents ranging from racist name-calling and stereotyping; to threats of violence; to death threats; to expressions of sentiments that can only be described as genocidal”. Twenty three per cent of incidents originating in Ireland involved social media including Facebook and Twitter. Manifestations of hate speech and other forms of racism on social media are disturbingly extreme.

The iReport compiles its data from information submitted by people who have been subjected to racism, by frontline anti-racist organisations and the general public. People who experience racism are encouraged to report it to www.iReport.ie. Reports were mostly made by third party bystanders. O’Curry says, "The Internet is an easy place for people to say things that would otherwise be less socially acceptable to say". “Taken with the lack of legal resources available, and the poor record of self-regulation by social media platforms, this creates the conditions in which “keyboard warriors” can work-up base racist sentiments into something much more sinister and threatening for those on the receiving end. “The government needs to prioritise the issue of online hatred, bullying and death threats”. ENAR Ireland is the Irish coordination for the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), based in Brussels.
© The Journal Ireland

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Nazi gets Spain's first Islamophobia jail term

A web administrator who was handed Spain's first prison sentence for running a homepage inciting race hatred against Muslims could escape jail if he attends a human rights course.

5/3/2014- A court in Barcelona found Jaime T. guilty of inciting violence and hatred against a religious group and inciting ideas of genocide, Spanish daily El Periódico reported on Wednesday. Denunciascivicas.com, which has received at least 21,240 visits, contains material praising the Third Reich in Germany. It also encourages readers to carry out similar crimes against Muslims. Police arrested the IT administrator in March 2011 and seized all kinds of xenophobic paraphernalia, such as photos of Adolf Hitler and swastikas, along with numerous videos from his computer which show him making anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim speeches. But the man's two-year sentence judgement — the first for Islamophobia in Catalonia — may be suspended if the defendant participates in a course or program on human rights and does not commit a new crime within three years. Figures from the Islamic Andalusí Observatory state there are currently 427,000 practicing Muslims in Catalonia. In 2013, the region's government announced plans to control the wearing of burqas and other face-covering attire in public spaces "for reasons of public safety".
© The Local - Spain

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Google: let us know about violations

5/3/2014- When users ask us to remove content: We work hard to respond fairly and accurately to legal and community concerns. That's how we maintain vibrant communities, while staying true to our commitment to free expression.
© YouTube

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FA urges social media to combat racist abuse of black footballers online (UK)

Growing concern over the widespread racist abuse of black footballers online has prompted the Football Association to call on social media networks to up their game and do more to tackle the problem.

2/3/2014- This comes on the eve of a documentary being broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday night which reveals how racism and homophobia persist in top flight football despite years of campaigning to try and clean up the game. Last year the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, backed by the Football Association, promised to tackle “..all forms of abuse in football, be it in the stands, or on our computer screens.” Yet an undercover investigation for the C4 Dispatches Hate on the Terraces documentary highlights how even after this pledge, racist and homophobic chanting continues in the grounds of some of the biggest clubs across the country. In one incident fans shouting deeply offensive racist abuse in front of police officers escaped unpunished. And the problem is not just physical. Racist abuse is posted on fan forums linked to the official websites of clubs such as Manchester United and Everton, on YouTube videos and social networks such as Twitter. At least 40 per cent of the 150 black players in the Premiership have suffered racist comments over the last two years.

Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, Tottenham striker Adebayor, Liverpool defender Glen Johnson and Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are among those who have been targeted. Another, former Premiership striker Jason Roberts, who played for Blackburn, Wigan, and West Bromwich Albion, said: “I’m on Twitter myself and some of the abuse that I get is horrific really. You can’t believe that people feel that way but actually will take the step to go and sit in front of a computer and type it and send it.” He described the type of comments he has been sent: “Black this, black that, slavery, your family, you know, I hope you die and the N word used everywhere. Again it’s one of those things you learn to try to deal with it. So you hope that the authorities will take action and there will be arrests made and people will be made examples of.” Darren Bailey, the FA's director of governance and regulation, commented: “Clearly abuse on social media is something we're mindful of. We have collaborated with the DPP on social media guidelines. But I think in this space, Twitter itself, and other forms of social media, could be doing more.” He added: “Social media has brought many positives to the game, but has also unleashed unintended consequences. We would welcome and support more robust interventions which help counter discrimination.”

The level of online abuse is getting worse, with a 43 per cent increase in reports of discriminatory remarks being posted on social media in the last year, according to Kick It Out. And former striker turned pundit Stan Collymore deactivated his Twitter account earlier this year, in response to repeated racist abuse. Dealing with the problem is difficult, according to senior police officers. Andy Holt, deputy chief constable, South Yorkshire Police, and the lead on football policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers, admitted it’s not easy to bring people to justice. “If they are making comments, hosted through an internet provider that’s based in China or the Far East or whatever, tracking them down with the cooperation of some of those, is actually sometimes quite difficult.” It is “quite a substantial problem” and “policing the internet presents its challenges,” he added.
© The Independent

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Drive to unmask cyber cowards (UK)

Avon and Somerset Police at Yeovil station move to tackle hate crime

2/3/2014- Police say social media will not act as “a cloak of anonymity” enabling abusers to go undetected. That was the warning following the launch of a film, screened in Yeovil for the first time on Saturday, to raise awareness of hate crime. Volunteers, police and public figures gathered at the Methodist Church Hall in Vicarage Street to watch Everyone is Different and learn how to combat incidents in Somerset. The film will be shown in schools to warn against the impact of such crimes. Renata Dudek, hate crime co-ordinator for East Somerset, based at Yeovil police station, said the growing use of social media has seen a rise in cyber bullying. She said: “We now use the internet so much now. Social media is brilliant if it is used properly. But quite often you can get drawn into conversations you might not normally take part in. Writing can sometimes take away insecurities in how we express our thoughts. It’s not about making people afraid to give their opinions. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion but we also have to respect each other. Saying something online is not anonymous and the police can detect and investigate the culprit.”

This is just one strand of ‘hate crime’, a name that refers to any incident motivated by hostility or prejudice against race, origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. It occurs when someone bullies a victim, damages or steals their property, and verbally or physically abuses them. Mrs Dudek said: “Sometimes people may not know they are a victim, or that their actions mean they are a perpetrator.” Between April 2013 and January this year between 93 and 117 hate crimes were reported in the East Somerset area and spanned all age groups. In comparison, in the same period more than 600 were reported in Bristol alone, and 112 reported in West Somerset. Mrs Dudek said: “This is a slight increase but it is no cause for alarm. I would like to think it’s because people are more confident in reporting hate crime and there is a good support network. Often speaking about it is a huge relief for people.” She said recent court cases and reports published after Stephen Lawrence’s murder have brought the subject to the forefront of policing. Mrs Dudek said: “As soon as a hate crime is reported, the duty inspector is informed because we take it very seriously.”

Repercussions, depending on the severity and nature of the incident, can vary from a community sentence to time in jail. She urged people to seek support immediately if they felt they might be a victim of hate crime. She said: “A victim could become withdrawn, or aggressive and could become a perpetrator too. People should avoid reacting to the incident, and report the crime. “The problem with crime is that it affects us very deeply. We can feel it’s our fault and shut ourselves away from people we trust. If you feel something is not right it’s important to talk about it. We want to encourage people to come and ask for support and re-build their lives. I feel very patriotic about Yeovil. There are a lot of positive things happening here.” She added: “It’s unusual for Yeovil to have this sort of event but I hope we will have more. These types of events have been successful in other parts of the county for other forms of policing. It brought the community together and got people out of their comfort zone. It was a success and and an excellent way of celebrating diversity. “There was total silence when the film was being shown and for some there were tears in their eyes. It is very moving.”

Case studies from the film, which are based on real incidents in Somerset:
1. Cecylia recently moved to England and knows little English. She is insulted at school by a group of girls because of this. The group also pick on her because they believe she shouldn’t be in ‘their’ country. It even leads to physical violence. Her story focuses on hate crime between different races and how she overcomes this problem with support, building a strong group of friends and integrating in society.

2. Jack suffers from Autism. He struggles to be sociable and some boys make fun of him. They manipulate him because of his strive to be neat and other habits he has.

3. Adam is the victim of gossip and rumours at school because he is gay. He is a victim of cyber bullying which leads to self-harming. He learns to tackle this and comes out in the open. This story looks at sexual discrimination and bullying.
© The Western Gazette

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Poland launches anti-racism website

1/3/2014- A website with advice to foreign racism victims in Poland went live on Friday and is part of a new government campaign against racism. Besides a Polish version, the www.reportracism.pl site is available in English, Russian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, Armenian, Chinese and Turkish. Interior Ministry spokesperson Pawel Majcher explained that the website advises racism victims on institutional steps and informs about the appropriate bodies which they can turn to with their cases. Leaflets about the campaign will be available in Police stations, universities and government offices. From March, a related video spot will be aired in the Warsaw underground and public transport vehicles in Lublin, Szczecin, Krakow, Bialystok and Lodz. The campaign, which will last until June 30, is cofinanced from EU funds. According to the Polish General prosecution, the number of racism cases has been on the rise since 2009 but the detection rate is going down from year to year.
© The Shanghai Daily

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Peru: Racism on social media sites continues to draw attention

Racist jokes on Twitter in the wake of the death of a famous singer have caused Peruvians to wonder if they’re doomed to deal with discrimination online forever.

6/3/2014- Last Saturday, Perú woke up to the news of the death of Edita Guerrero, singer and founder of the Cumbia group Corazón Serrano. And [Perú] also witnessed the blossoming racism on Twitter, one of the web’s most popular social media sites, sparked by Guerrero’s death. A number of racist tweets appeared as soon as news broke of the artist’s death. The backlash to these tweets also came quickly, also on Twitter. Messages rejecting the derogatory tweets multiplied, and some of the perpetrators even deleted their accounts because of social pressure. “We’ve seen intolerable insults on these social media sites against the singer, Edita Guerrero. These aren’t isolated acts. They’re the tip of the iceberg of a reality that threatens the development of our society,” says Eduardo Vega, acting ombudsman in Perú. Vega adds “Racism is entrenched in Perú.”

In our legislation, discrimination is all its forms, including racial and ethnic discrimination, is considered a crime since 2006. Discrimination via internet can be punished thanks to article 323 of the Informatic Crime Law (30096), which was published last 22nd October. This article specifies a punishment of no less than two, but no more than three years in jail if one discriminates against someone because of their ethnic identity, religion, sex, age, social class, and other reasons. And what’s more, if this crime is committed by a functionary, he or she could be punished with up to four years in prison.

No prosecutions
However, according to Rocío Muñoz, the general director of Intercultural Citizenship in the Ministry of Culture, her department has yet to receive a single criminal report of racism on social media, a requirement to begin a court case. “Our challenge is to raise awareness in the population so they can report these acts, that are damaging to human dignity, through our platform Alerta contra el Racismo (Vigilant against Racism). We do not have the authority to punish [perpetrators], but we can advise victims to enable them to file charges with the National Prosecutor’s Ministry,” said Muñoz, speaking to El Comercio. Muñoz adds that racists hide behind the anonymity of the internet and burner accounts to do their dirty business.

For a case of legal discrimination, there are three factors that must be present: unequal treatment, a prohibited motive (for example, one cannot inhibit the free movement of a person on national property), and affected rights. Sources from the ombudsman’s office informed us that there is an ongoing legal debate about whether or not racist insults on social networks are illegal discrimination, as they do not prohibit the victim from accessing or doing anything. Another school of thought holds that the different treatment [insults] affect a person’s dignity, which, they say, is enough to constitute a crime. “The Ministry of Culture should follow up on cases until they arrive at punishment,” says vega.

According to Diana Zorilla, the director of operations at Quantico Trends, a company that monitors activity on social media sites, it’s hard to get an exact count of racists tweets or posts, as it’s a subjective issue. “On social media, you’re not physically in front of another person, or several people, which, unfortunately, pushes many people to reveal their hatred through off-color statements. Definitely, there’s an element of cowardice in all of this. And keep in mind, you can report racist accounts to social media sites so they can be banned,” says Zorrilla.

To report online racism in Perú, go to Alerta contra el Racismo on Twitter or Facebook.
© Peru This Week

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Headlines February 2014

Facebook petition urges Zuckerberg to act on anti-Semitism

Online initiative launched by Swedish Jew gets nearly 17,000 signatures.

28/2/2014- An online petition urging Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to help stamp out anti-Semitism on the social networking site had garnered nearly 17,000 signatures by Friday. The petition is the brainchild of Anna Berg, a Swedish Jew who told Maariv newspaper this week that she has long been battling anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in the Scandinavian country. "Anti-Semitism is once again on the rise in our society," the petition reads. "Jews are attacked everywhere and Facebook is no exception. The number of anti-Semite (and anti-Zionist) pages are growing by the minute. Despite the option to report these pages, most reports are ignored." The petition goes on to say that the anti-Semitic pages and photos that are posted on Facebook "are vile, horrific, hateful and filled with classic anti-Semitism and Jewish stereotypes." It says that by not removing such pages, Facebook is "actively supporting the spread of anti-Semitism." The petition is demanding that Zuckerberg and Facebook change the site's community standards and "stop the hate NOW!"

Facebook's community standards say that, "Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition." Berg's initiative began only several weeks ago, but she told Maariv that it has gained momentum quickly. "Every ten hours, we get 1,000 signatures," she told the daily. "The goal is to force Facebook to keep track of the content that is posted and to take the subject seriously." Berg also told Maariv that she organized a pro-Israel rally in Sweden about a year and a half ago, but has focused her efforts mainly on Internet activism of late. The online petition was to be sent to Facebook headquarters in California's Silicon Valley on Friday.
© Haaretz

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Google must remove all “Innocence of Muslims” videos from YouTube, appeals court rules (USA)

In an unusual copyright decision that raises free speech questions, the 9th Circuit has ordered Google to remove all copies of a video and to prevent future uploads.

26/2/2014- A California appeals court on Wednesday ordered Google to take down all copies of a controversial anti-Islamic movie, granting an injunction to an actress in the film who had filed a copyright claim after being subjected to global death threats. In a 2-1 ruling, the court ordered Google to remove all copies of the 14-minute film, titled Innocence of Muslims, “from YouTube and any other platforms within its control and to take all reasonable steps to prevent further uploads.” The obscure film, produced in 2012, touched off a global uproar that included riots and an Egyptian cleric’s fatwa calling for everyone involved to be put to death, including the actress, Cindy Lee Garcia. Garcia, who received $500 for acting in the film, claimed she was tricked and that the producer dubbed offensive lines into the Arabic version of the film like “Is your Mohammed a child molester?” In response to the ongoing turmoil, Garcia claimed she had a copyright in the film in an attempt to force Google to remove it from YouTube. Google steadfastly refused the request and, in 2012, a federal judge sided with the company and refused to grant Garcia a temporary injunction.

In Wednesday’s ruling, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, writing for the majority, makes a series of unusual copyright arguments to explain why Garcia has rights in the film. While actors typically don’t have an independent copyright in their performances, Kozinski states that Garcia’s role was not a work for hire. The opinion also states that Garcia had given the producer an implied license to use herperformance, but that his subsequent conduct went beyond the terms of the license — meaning that she ultimately retained the copyright and could use it against YouTube. The dissenting judge, however, declared that this was a strained interpretation of copyright and noted that the court had never made a similar finding. He added that “these facts may constitute a prior restraint of speech under the First Amendment” and found that the public interest sided with Google. Google will challenge the ruling. A spokesperson said by email: “Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an actress in the Innocence of Muslims trailer may have a copyright claim over her five-second appearance in the video. As a result the court ordered Google to remove the video from our services. We strongly disagree with this ruling and will fight it.”
YouTube Innocence of Muslims Ruling
© Gigacom

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Study: In Germany, anti-Semitic hate mail doesn’t come from right

More than 60 percent comes from educated Germans, with only 3 percent coming from ultranationalists.

25/2/2014- Over months, Prof. Monika Schwarz-Friesel read 14,000 letters, emails and faxes sent to the Israeli embassy in Berlin and the Central Council of Jews in Germany. She was looking for an answer to a question that had preoccupied her for some time: What does anti-Semitism look like in Germany at the start of the 21st century? “I wanted to find out how modern anti-Semites think, feel and communicate,” said Schwarz-Friesel, a linguistics professor at the Technical University of Berlin, in an interview with Haaretz. Previous studies of anti-Semitism didn’t satisfy her, nor did public opinion surveys, questionnaires or the annual reports put out by various agencies on anti-Semitic incidents round the world. “I wasn’t satisfied with the methodology of asking in a survey, ‘Do you think that Jews are ...,” she explained.

So she decided to search for data in another source that had never before been studied so systematically and comprehensively. She asked the Israeli embassy in Berlin and the local Jewish community to send her all the hate mail they received over a 10-year period, from 2002 to 2012. They gave her 14,000 letters, to which she added 2,000 letters from other Israeli embassies in Europe. Her approach to these institutions was made easier by the fact that her husband, Prof. Evyatar Friesel, once served as Israel’s state archivist. “In the end, I had a unique collection of information that enabled me to understand how modern anti-Semites think in the 21st century,” she said. Her research partner was Prof. Jehuda Reinharz, a historian and past president of Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Together with a few research assistants, they read and analyzed all the letters. “We were helped by modern technology that enabled us to sort them better than in the past,” Schwarz-Friesel said.

Their findings were detailed in a book published in Germany last year, “The Language of Hostility toward Jews in the 21st Century.” Next year, it will be published in English.
What they discovered is that more than 60 percent of the letters were sent by educated Germans, including university professors. The proportion sent by right-wing extremists was negligible – about 3 percent. “At first, we thought that most of the letters would be sent by right-wing extremists,” Schwarz-Friesel said. “But I was very surprised to discover that they were actually sent by people from the social mainstream – professors, Ph.Ds, lawyers, priests, university and high-school students.” She was also surprised to discover that most of the letter writers had no qualms about giving their names, addresses and titles. “Twenty or 30 years ago, that wouldn’t have happened,” she said. Still another surprise was the fact that there is no significant difference between the extreme right’s anti-Semitism and that of the educated mainstream. “The difference is only in the style and the rhetoric, but the ideas are the same,” Schwarz-Friesel noted.

“It is possible that the murder of innocent children suits your long tradition?” one letter said. “For the last 2,000 years, you’ve been stealing land and committing genocide,” said another. “You Israelis ... shoot cluster bombs over populated areas and accuse people who criticize such actions of anti-Semitism. That’s typical of the Jews!” declared a third. Certain key phrases kept cropping up in letter after letter. For instance, many letters sent to the Central Council of Jews in Germany said, “The Jews are doing to the Palestinians exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews.” Schwarz-Friesel’s training as a linguist helped her identify anti-Semitic motifs even in letters that at first glance seemed innocent. An opening such as “I’m not an anti-Semite, but ...” is liable to be a substitute for a general statement about “Jewish” traits, which in itself has anti-Semitic elements.

About 80 percent of the hate mail was anti-Israel. Surveying these letters led Schwarz-Friesel to an unambiguous conclusion: “Today, it’s already impossible to distinguish between anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. Modern anti-Semites have turned ‘the Jewish problem’ into ‘the Israeli problem.’ They have redirected the ‘final solution’ from the Jews to the State of Israel, which they see as the embodiment of evil.” The study’s bottom line is gloomy. “Anti-Semitism is embedded very deeply in Western society, even after the Holocaust, all the learning of its lessons and the memorialization,” Schwarz-Friesel said. “For 2,000 years, they fashioned the image of the Jews as the enemy of Christianity and of humanity. That’s not a simple thing that can be erased in 60 years. It’s etched too deeply into the collective memory. Thus people who see themselves as humanists and are familiar with the lessons of the Holocaust permit themselves to express themselves in an anti-Semitic fashion even afterward.” Now, Schwarz-Friesel is busy with a new study of modern anti-Semitism on the Internet. “It hasn’t been confined to extreme right-wing sites for a long time now,” she said. “It’s also on fairly ‘ordinary’ sites.”
© Haaretz

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Racism On Twitter, By The Numbers

Roughly every 9 seconds, someone sends out a potentially racist tweet.

14/2/2014- A new study from the British think tank Demos offers the first in-depth look at racially-charged language on Twitter, finding some 10,000 tweets per day that use language that might be considered offensive. But as it turns out, many of those tweets may not be derogatory. For example, roughly half of the tweets involve "white boy," which isn't always racially charged. Others are potentially racist words used in a non-derogatory way, including "appropriated" words. That's when a hateful word is used by members of the group it's directed against to describe themselves as well as their friends and other members of the community." As a result, up to 70 percent of the tweets that use racist language may not be derogatory, and only between 500 and 2,000 tweets per day are directed at an individual and clearly abusive.

"While there are a lot of racial slurs being used on Twitter, the overwhelming majority of them are not used in an obviously prejudicial or hateful way," study author Jamie Bartlett told the Daily Mail.On the other hand, some tweets might be called racist without actually using racially-charged language -- and those would escape the study. Or, as the report puts it: "Language does not require the use of slurs in order to be hateful." Twitter told the Mail that it does not screen content or remove anything potentially offensive, and that only tweets that violate its terms of service, such as direct threats, are removed.

You can download a PDF of the study here.
© The Huffington Post

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French judge orders Dieudonne to cut controversial video

A judge in Paris has ordered French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala to remove two parts of a YouTube video deemed insulting to Jews.

12/2/2014- The judge said the two segments, which were specifically related to the Holocaust, could incite racial hatred. Dieudonne, who already has convictions for hate speech, was also given a 1,500 euro ($2,045; £1,230) fine. He has caused controversy in recent months, with one of his shows banned over concerns of anti-Semitism. The comedian has already been convicted six times of hate speech against Jews, and already owed 65,000 euros in fines before this latest conviction.

Holocaust denial
The video in question is called "2014, year of the Quenelle". In one of the clips that the judge ruled as insulting to Jews, Dieudonne referred his audience to the French academic and Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson when asked about whether the gas chambers existed. A complaint was lodged by the Jewish Student Union, which called for the online video to be removed altogether. Last week, Dieudonne was acquitted over the dissemination of another video in which he called for the release of a man who tortured and murdered a Jewish man in 2006. On that occasion, the court ruled it could not prove he was behind the video's release. His trademark "quenelle" gesture has been described by his critics as an "inverted Nazi salute". But Dieudonne says it is an anti-establishment gesture, and denies that he is an anti-Semite, saying he is anti-Zionist.

Dieudonne is also linked to an anti-Semitism row involving the West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka. Anelka, 34, has been charged by the FA for performing the "quenelle" gesture after scoring against West Ham United in December. In January, France's highest court upheld a ban on Dieudonne's one-man show The Wall, which contained sketches including the performer miming urination against the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Earlier this month, Dieudonne was banned from entering the UK. The Home Office said it banned individuals if there were "public policy or public security reasons".
© BBC News

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How anti-gay groups use 'Russian Facebook' to persecute LGBT people

With Sochi under way, we look at widespread homophobia across VKontakte – and what little is being done to stop it

11/2/2014- It is known as the Russian Facebook, and it is the 8th biggest social networking site in the world, with over 239 million registered users and 55 million active daily. It is VKontakte (VK), and it is host to videos of rapes, threats to kill, and the humiliation of gay people. While the world tunes in to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, hundreds of gay, lesbian, and transgender Russian citizens will be persecuted and attacked; the result of plots formed online by homophobic groups buoyed up by Putin’s anti-gay propaganda laws. “Occupy Paedophilia” was one of the leading groups to feature in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme, broadcast last Wednesday, which exposed the extent of the violence faced by the LGBT community. The group has a prominent presence on VK, with over 90,000 followers – as well as other local factions pulling in more supporters. Occupy Paedophilia use the site to connect with gay men, posing as potential love interests, before luring them into situations where they will be attacked, a process they refer to as “safaris” using “bait”.

Uploaded regularly to the site, films show victims being violently attacked and humilliated. This is content that is easily available to view, and is “liked”, passed around, and shared on the site, seemingly without impediment. The leader of Occupy Paedophilia, Ekaterina Zigunova, has posted screenshots of abuse she has received from UK television viewers after the airing of the Dispatches investigation, in which she featured heavily. Despite the group claiming on screen that they are not neo-Nazis, but rather upholding a moral obligation to rid Russia of paedophiles (whom they conflate with homosexuals), the VK pages of Occupy Paedophilia and other similar groups are littered with Nazi insignia. So what is VK doing about the profiles and groups which organise and post evidence of the criminal activity (although not recognised as hate crime under Russian law) which has brought so much widespread international criticism and resulted in calls for a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics?

When contacted by the Guardian, George Lobushkin, VK’s press officer, pledged to delete the content. “We do our best to remove the content that violates our terms of service, as fast as possible. Videos of violence and abuse are forbidden,” he said. “We also block and delete communities where users call to violence or illegal actions against gay people or any other people. Please note that we are the only Russian social network that lets its users select a same-sex person when specifying their relationship status. “But it is very important for VKontakte to be an independent company, equidistant from any ideological position or belief. People can express themselves freely, as long as they don’t commit illegal acts or call others to those.” VK is not the only social network site on which Occupy Paedophilia is operating. YouTube returns over 23,000 search results for the gang, and hate propaganda from Russian fascist groups is tweeted often.

Kirill Maryin is a teenager in Novosibirsk, Russia’s third largest city, who has set up the Twitter account, @ru_lgbt_teen. The profile’s name is simply Gay Teen from Russia, with a picture of an SOS sign, and the bio: “World, help us! I plead you! History must not happen again!” Kirill tweets about the everyday discrimination that he faces, as well as coverage of Russia’s politics, authorities, and how Russia’s homophobia is being covered by external news outlets. He told the Guardian he started the account to help the world understand the struggles of the LGBT population in Russia from the viewpoint of a teenager on the ground, rather than a celebrity campaigner. “General information about gay life in Russia has come from Nikolai Alekseev and his project GayRussia in the past few years. “I wanted people who live abroad to hear the true story of life for LGBT teenagers from Russia. I have no husband in Switzerland, I do not live in the ECHR, I do not organise Gay Pride in Moscow. I am an ordinary LGBT teenager, and in this country, that is incredibly dangerous. “Gays have become targets of crimes and human rights violations. The Russian state uses LGBT as a shorthand for ‘internal enemies’. Homophobia is very much prevalent in our society.”

The time Kirill feels the impact of homophobia the most is at school. “I have been insulted and humiliated, and the teachers pretend that nothing is happening. I am called ‘motherfucker, fag, cock, a non-entity, a mistake of nature’. “Once they told me I should move to the Netherlands because that country is for fags. I hate my school, my class and my teachers. I have no friends there, and I dream of it ending. “I am not considered a person. I have low self-esteem. Psychologists cannot do anything, and they are often also homophobic. Honestly, I cannot see an end to this problem.” As Lobushkin points out, the site does have LGBT groups. I ask Kirill if thse help him. He tells me that although he has an account and has added many LGBT groups, he limits his activity and he does not openly identify as gay on the site because he could be targeted. “I would like them to remove all the fascist calls and actions. I do not feel free there.”

Children 404 is one of the biggest LGBT support groups on VK. The 404 element is a reference to the internet error message – ‘404 not found’ – because gay people feel isolated and ignored, and because Russian authorities like to pretend that gay individuals do not exist. Or as the group’s founder Lena Klimova explains: “they believe LGBT people arrived from Mars”. Klimova is 25 and lives in Nizhny Tagil, in the Urals area of Russia. She is openly gay and works as a journalist. Children 404 focuses on helping gay teenagers. “I saw that they needed help, at least this kind of help – the possibility to tell other people about themselves, the chance to speak out and possibly get some advice, to form a community online. “Homophobic harassment is very common on VKontakte, as in real life. And you don’t necessarily have to be openly gay, or a gay at all. The harassment hits everybody who is speaking out in favour of gays, everybody who looks like they might be gay, and everybody who does not conform to the standards of a “real man” or a “real woman”.

On Wednesday, the same day as Channel 4’s Dispatches programme aired, Klimova was charged under Putin’s new gay propaganda laws. She has been told her court hearing will be in a couple of weeks, and she faces a large fine. Lena was pursued after Children 404 was investigated by Vitaly Milonov, a prominent politician in St. Petersburg. “I am depressed. I feel very sad, hurt and bitter. LGBT people are experiencing harsh oppression: they are living in fear, they fear being fired, being beaten up, being killed just without any reason. In Russia such harassment isn’t considered hate crime. It is terribly frightening.” Despite pledging to remove the violent content and deleting the relevant accounts, five days after the Guardian’s enquiry only one video had been removed, turning a blind eye to the thousands of videos still hosted on VK; men looking into the camera with their eyes full of fear, while members of Occupy Paedophilia grab them by their necks and punch them, and Zigunova laughs.
© The Guardian

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Polish prosecutor general pledges to get tough on anti-Semitism

The foreign minister and his wife have reportedly been maligned some 2,500 times on the Internet.

11/2/2014- Polish Prosecutor General Andrzej Seremet said this week the country would drop its lenient policy toward anyone making hateful statements against foreigners and Jews. Seremet sent a letter to the Warsaw prosecutor demanding that the latter cease his soft stance on anti-Semitism and investigate insults on the Internet of the foreign minister and his wife. The Warsaw prosecutor reportedly agreed with the policy, although according to his spokesman, the prosecutor general does not have the authority to enforce his opinions on prosecutors in the field, and the new policy is merely a request. The Warsaw prosecutor has reportedly not investigated around 2,500 libel cases on the Internet against Poland’s foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski. Sikorski is married to Washington, D.C.-born Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer Prize winner for her 2004 book “Gulag: A History.”

The Warsaw prosecutor’s office had said it “did not find any public interest in the matter.” Anti-Semitic statements include “I’m angry at Adolf Hitler for not finishing his work in the gas chambers; if he did, Sikorski’s wife wouldn’t be alive today,” and “Sikorski isn’t Polish, he has a Jewish wife, and he does anything the [Jews] tell him.” According to another Internet comment, “Sikorski is a two-faced Jewish dog who wants to destroy Poland.” Sikorski has unsuccessfully appealed decisions against the opening of investigations. To do so, he hired attorney Roman Giertych, former head of the national youth movement and deputy prime minister in the former right-wing government led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s Law and Justice Party. Investigations have been avoided despite a court order that the phenomenon be perceived as a public danger. Prosecutors had also said there was no need to continue investigations because it was impossible to identify the authors. Still, investigators have identified at least 100 computers used for publishing anti-Semitic statements, and many authors have not concealed their identities.

According to one Polish newspaper, a 71-year-old woman from Bialystok did not deny that she wrote that she “does not participate in elections … because it’s no secret that the Polish politicians all have Jewish origins. Not a single party in our country wasn’t started by Jews. If the Internet has a long list like this, then that’s the reality. It’s not only me who believes it; most of the public has the same opinion.”
© Haaretz

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Italy plans crackdown on internet hate

Politicians from the Democratic Party (PD) will this week propose a new law to tackle internet hate speech, following high-profile attacks against leading politician Laura Boldrini.

10/2/2014- The new proposal is due to be put forward this week by MPs Alessandra Moretti and Francesco Sanna, with backing from other PD members, La Stampa reported on Monday. The aim of the bill is to strip the online sphere of content that is “detrimental to our own dignity”, Moretti was quoted by the newspaper as saying. If successfully passed by Italy’s lower house and Senate, the law would impact newspaper websites, blogs and individuals’ social media accounts. “It is a necessary intervention. But I would like to specify one thing: it is not a gag for the internet,” Moretti said. “On the contrary, I think that this text can be improved, therefore I would like to open it up to bloggers for their contribution.” In its current form the proposal would enable authorities to ask for content to be removed if it is inaccurate or damaging, La Stampa said.

It could also affect old posts which are traceable through online search engines; a move which would impact newspaper archives as well as old blogs and posts on social networks. The proposal comes just days after Boldrini, president of the Chamber of Deputies, was the victim of abusive comments online including some calling for her to be raped. The offensive posts were responses to Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), posing the question "what would you do if you found Boldrini in your car?" online. Boldrini responded by saying Grillo’s post was an “instigation of violence” and called those who responded “potential rapists”.
© The Local - Italy

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Safe internet day: How youngsters can avoid online risks

11/2/2014- Children’s perceptions of online risks and problematic situations may greatly differ from those of adults. What adults perceive as problematic does not necessarily result in a negative or harmful experience for children. And when it comes to sexual content, both male and female teenagers suggest that it is up to the girls to take responsibility in avoiding sexy pictures being shared. These are some of the conclusions of a new report from the EU Kids Online project coordinated from the Czech Republic (Masaryk University). Published on Safer Internet Day 2014 (11th of February), these new findings result from the qualitative analysis of 57 focus groups and 113 personal interviews with children aged 9 to 16. In total, 349 participants from nine different European countries$1 were invited to explain what they perceive as problematic or harmful online, and what they do to prevent this from happening.

No clear distinction between positive and negative experiences online
Researchers revealed that youth’s online problematic experiences are related almost to all contexts of their development, such as exploring their identity and sexuality, building relationships with peers or romantic relationships, but also to moral and ethics development. While parents, teachers or other adult caregivers may feel that exposure to certain online content or communication is risky, youngsters perceive this very differently. For example, posting sexy pictures and receiving flirty comments can be flattering and exciting. However, sharing of sexy pictures can turn also into traumatic experience, for example, when youths receive very bad comments or when these pictures are shared with too many people. David Smahel (Masaryk University) explains: “The line between online positive and negative experiences is very thin. The outcome depends on the context of the situation and the children’s awareness of problems they may encounter on the internet. Even same situation can be perceived differently by different children. While some children are very cautious about for example their personal information, others believe that nothing bad will happen to them, regardless of what they disclose online.”

«Girls to take responsibility for sexual pictures
In situations of unpleasant sexual issues, some children do not perceive limiting their online activities as useful. Unpleasant sexual content or communication is often being avoided by turning away from the situation or making sure one does not get involved. Measures such as scrolling further, clicking away, or simply not taking sexy pictures nor undressing oneself in front of the webcam are frequently mentioned. Surprisingly, male and female teenagers suggest that it is up to the girls to take responsibility in avoiding incidents with sexy pictures being shared.

Most of problematic situations occur on social networking sites
The majority of interviewed children expressed a range of concerns and online issues that sometimes bother them. Clearly, the worst risks in children’s eyes are online bullying and harassment, misuse of personal information, unwelcome or sexualized contact from strangers, but also commercial content. Looking at the media platforms where these incidents occur, about half of unpleasant online experiences happen on social networking sites such as Facebook. This shows that children acknowledge the potential risks of social networking sites, which does not necessarily mean they will do something to avoid the risk. Even if they are aware, some children simply don’t care much about potential risks.

Report: ‘Preventive measures - How young children avoid online risks’ 
Report: ‘Net Children Go Mobile: risks and opportunities’
© The Malta Independent

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Complaint filed against Dutch group for ‘Jews control Internet’ article

10/2/2014- Two Dutch anti-racism groups filed a criminal complaint against a pro-Palestinian organization that featured a conspiracy theory about Jewish control of the Internet on its website. The complaint was filed with Dutch police on Feb. 7 against Stop the Occupation, an organization run by the pro-Palestinian activist Gretta Duisenberg, widow of the first president of the European Central Bank. It concerned the publication three months ago on the group’s website of an English-language article titled “The Jewish hand behind Internet, Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Yahoo!, MySpace, eBay.”

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, called the text “offensive to Jews” and filed the complaint along with the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet, or MDI. The article, written in 2009 by the California-based Freedom Research Foundation, surveys what the text describes as “the Jewish penetration of the Internet” by describing alleged Jewish affiliations of each Internet giant mentioned in the title. “The Jews — contrary to the ‘liberal’ views they officially say they profess — in their suppressive acts practically demonstrate that they always seek to dominate the information flow, they don’t tolerate any dissent,” reads the article, which is still accessible on the website.

The Netherlands, like many European countries, has laws against disseminating material with intention of inciting hate or discrimination. Duisenberg, founder of the pro-Palestinian group, told JTA her assistant placed the text online three months ago. She does not consider the text anti-Semitic but her organization is not guilty of incitement to hatred anyway because it only reproduced the text, she said. “We have made it clear that material placed on the website does not necessarily reflect our point of view,” Duisenberg said. “We didn’t write the text. If they want to go to the police, fine. It’s propaganda, it’s a trick. I won’t remove it because why should I?”
© JTA News.

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The Challenge of Cyberhate (opinion)

By Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League
This article originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post on February 11, 2014

11/2/2014- Earlier this week the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee held a hearing on online hate speech. ADL and other organizations were invited to present their views on the best ways to effectively combat the growing presence of anti-Semitic and other hate filled content on the Internet. The hearing was timely, and the issue warrants even greater public attention. The Internet is a magnificent, enormously powerful tool, and it has been a tremendous positive force for scientific research, for medicine, for scholars of all kinds, for educators, for journalists, for artists – for most of us. But the Internet also has a sinister side, and for an organization like ADL with a mandate to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of hate, that sinister side is cause for considerable concern.

Today, all Internet users, including children who lack the critical judgment to recognize and understand hate, are regularly confronted with it. They can access hate music on iTunes, watch videos produced by anti-Semites on YouTube, easily and unwittingly wind up on Holocaust denial pages on Facebook, and find themselves in gaming environments where on-screen violence is coupled with the real-time bigotry brought about by instant communications with strangers. Add in the surge in cyber-bullying, the power of smartphones to access online content, and the ubiquity of texting, and our kids are more vulnerable than ever before. Today’s technology has also enabled terrorists and haters to spread their messages more broadly. If the hate were contained within the virtual world, it would, of course, still be a cause for concern. But even more alarming is how the dissemination of hatred on the Internet spawns violent real world behavior. Extremists are using new technologies to recruit and to plan rallies, gatherings and terrorist acts, and they are able to coordinate their activities in ways unimaginable even a few years ago.

It might be tempting to look to the law to address the broad problem of Internet hate, but the international nature of the Internet makes that option largely impractical. Hate speech is hard to define, the line between hate speech and honest dissent is blurry, and any laws passed in an attempt to limit hateful content on the Internet would be virtually impossible to enforce. However, parliaments and legislatures can play an important role by holding hearings which provide forums to highlight the dangers to society from the unbridled spread of hate on the Internet and to learn from experts in civil society and the internet industry about the tools available and best practices being developed to stem the proliferation of hatred on the Internet.

ADL's mantra has always been that sunlight is the best disinfectant and the best response to bad speech is more speech – counter-speech. That requires education, with an emphasis on critical thinking. We must teach our children to approach content they encounter online with the same careful consideration they would use in the “real world”—and we must empower them with the tools they need to respond, sometimes by reporting it, sometimes by responding online themselves, and sometimes both. The need for such tools prompted us to create a Cyber-Safety Action Guide that provides links to the relevant Terms of Service of all of the major Internet companies, and makes it easier to file complaints. Because the volume of content is so enormous, most of the major companies depend upon their community of users to flag offensive content. For that reason, it is vitally important for people to flag offensive content they encounter online, to speak out, and to applaud positive messages.

We have also been working directly to encourage Internet companies to pursue stricter enforcement of provisions in their Terms of Service. The bad news is that the virus of bigotry is proving to be as pernicious online as it is in the real world, and finding an effective treatment remains elusive. The good news is the industry seems finally to be coming to grips with the scope of the problem and showing a willingness to explore strategies to confront it. Civil society and governments should continue to encourage Internet companies to develop and expand those strategies.
© The Anti-Defamation League

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Cyber border controls to stop extremist videos hosted abroad being accessed in the UK

Home Office in talks with to block violent videos 'at a network level' * 21,000 illegal terror videos and sites have been removed since 2010 * But material hosted in the Middle East and US is difficult to remove * Instead computers in the UK would be prevented from accessing it

10/2/2014- Extremist videos which help to radicalise impressionable young men are to be blocked from the internet in the UK. The Home Office is in talks with web companies to refuse access to violent films hosted overseas 'at a network level', MailOnline can reveal. The plans for what will effectively be ‘cyber border controls’ have been drawn up by James Brokenshire, promoted to immigration minister at the weekend. Ministers have been spurred into action by the growing threat from jihadists in Syria. Around 2,000 Europeans are thought to be fighting in Syria, including at least 200 known to the British security services. It is feared that fighters returning to the UK will seek to radicalise young men in particular to launch terror attacks at home and abroad. 

Anti-terror police and the Crown Prosecution Service can currently demand that vile videos posted on UK websites be removed. Since February 2010, the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) has taken down more than 21,000 pieces of illegal terrorist online content. If the CTIRU and prosecutors deem material to be illegal it can be blocked from parts of the public sector, including schools and hospitals but this does not extend to domestic users and filters can be turned off. It has also been difficult to act against sites hosted abroad, both in the Middle East and in the US where sites plead the Fifth Amendment which protects freedom of speech.

The Extremism Taskforce is examining how to further restrict access to illegal content hosted overseas, which would be much more effective in ensuring people in the UK were unable to access it. If videos, photographs and texts is found to be illegal under the Terrorism Act, but hosted overseas, the security agencies will act to restrict access to it. Mr Brokenshire, who became immigration minister on Saturday following the resignation of Mark Harper, said the new controls could also be used to block access to sick child pornography. He told MailOnline: ‘Terrorist propaganda online has a direct impact on the radicalisation of individuals and we work closely with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas.

‘Through proposals from the Extremism Taskforce announced by the Prime Minister in November, we will look to further restrict access to material which is hosted overseas - but illegal under UK law - and help identify other harmful content to be included in family-friendly filters.’ However, Emma Carr, deputy director of Big Brother Watch, was unhappy at the move. She said: 'Politicians and civil servants should not be deciding what we can see online. 'If content is to be blocked then it should be a court deciding that it is necessary and proportionate to do so. 'As people riot on the streets of Turkey over freedom of speech online and Government censorship this issue must be handled in a way that cannot be exploited by oppressive regimes around the world.'

Search engines like Google and Yahoo came under fire last year for not doing more to shut down hate-filled sites in the wake of the Woolwich attack on Drummer Lee Rigby. Thousands of videos which help to radicalise impressionable young men are easily available on YouTube. Today a search for beheadings on YouTube, which is owned by Google, brought up 129,000 results. In October, Facebook bowed to pressure from David Cameron and child internet protection campaigners by taking down a graphic video of a woman being beheaded in Mexico. 

The Prime Minister had accused Facebook of irresponsibility after it lifted a ban on users posting videos of beheadings - and demanded the social networking site explain its decision to parents. Critics accused the firm of ‘taking leave of its senses’. Facebook had said that while the images must not be posted for ‘sadistic pleasure’ they should be available for those who wish to condemn them. The Home Office also wants to make it easier for people to report extremist content online. Officials are working with industry to ‘help them identify harmful extremist content to include in family-friendly filters’.
© The Daily Mail

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Istanbul clashes over Turkey's new internet laws

Turkish riot police have fired water cannon and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators marching in Istanbul in protest at new laws tightening government control of the internet.

8/2/2014- Demonstrators threw fireworks and stones at police cordoning off Taksim Square, the city's main square. The president is under pressure not to ratify the legislation. It includes powers allowing authorities to block websites for privacy violations without a court decision. The opposition says it is part of a government attempt to stifle a corruption scandal. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denied accusations of censorship, saying the legislation would make the internet "more safe and free". The Turkish parliament approved the bill last week. As well as allowing Turkey's telecommunications authority to block websites without first seeking a court ruling, it will also force internet providers to store data on web users' activities for two years and make it available to the authorities.

'Scourge' of Twitter
Internet access in Turkey is already restricted and thousands of websites blocked. Mr Erdogan has been openly critical of the internet, describing Twitter as a "scourge" and condemning social media as "the worst menace to society". Both Twitter and Facebook were widely used by anti-government protesters to spread information during demonstrations last year. The corruption scandal broke in December with the arrest of businessmen close to the prime minister and three ministers' sons. Since then, Mr Erdogan's government has sacked hundreds of police officers and executives from banking and telecoms regulators and state television. Mr Erdogan says the scandal is an attempt by a US-based cleric with influence in the police and judiciary to unseat him. The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, denies this.
© BBC News

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Internet antisemitism a ‘mortal danger,’ say MKs (Israel)

Stakeholders from government and non-governmental organizations testify in Knesset hearing on matter.

10/2/2014- Anti-Semitism on the net is “like a tsunami wave,” Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee chairman MK Yoel Razbozov said during a Sunday hearing on online hate speech. Razbozov called for countries to enact legislation restricting online hate, and warned that if Jews will not act to combat the spread of anti-Semitism online, they will eventually “find themselves in mortal danger.” Representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, the Israeli Internet Association and the Anti-Defamation League, among other bodies, testified regarding the dangers of online hate and discussed methods of combating disinformation about Jews and Israel. The Anti-Defamation League testified regarding its ongoing relationship with Internet hosting company GoDaddy to take down anti-Semitic websites, citing some 30 sites it said were taken down by the American company. Facebook has also been working with the ADL, its representative said. “Facebook is coming around, they just need time,” Ronald Eissens of the International Network Against Cyberhate added.

The World Zionist Organization established a communications center for combating hate online and is beginning two pilot courses for training Israelis to engage in this struggle, WZO Department for Countering Anti-Semitism chief Yaakov Hagoel told lawmakers. “I don’t see us winning the battle but at least we are putting up a fight,” he said. While combating disinformation with facts and taking anti-Semitism offline were both tactics discussed during the meeting, only the former will have any substantial impact, committee member MK Dov Lipman told The Jerusalem Post. “I fear that we are fighting a losing battle,” he said. “I am convinced that our focus should be on getting Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and urge websites to remove anti-Semitic materials and not with setting up our own sites and pages to negate the anti-Semitism. I will present this proposal to the chairman of the committee and will push hard for this to be the government’s direction.”
© The Jerusalem Post

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Hitler 'Resurrected' on the Web (Israel)

10/2/2014- The Committee for Immigration, Absorption and the Diaspora, headed by MK Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid) discussed today (Monday) the progressive anti-Semitism spreading on the Internet. "Anti-semitism is spreading on the web like a tsunami wave coming to wash over us, and if we don't get up and do something about it, the Jews of the world will find themselves in mortal danger," warned MK Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid). "And in the US I was once spit on," added MK Nissim Zeev (Shas). Ronald Eissens, from the International Network Against Cyber-Hate (INACH), stated that "40% of all hate materials from Europe on the web are anti-Semitic in content. We find this alarming. We used Twitter for research, and found that over the last 30 days, there were over one million tweets, in English, about Israel, and 62% of them were negative."
© Arutz Sheva

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Twitter:10,000 English language Tweets a Day Contain Racist Epithets

More than 10,000 Tweets a day contain racist words, a major study of users' timelines has found.

7/2/2014- Analysts found one racist slur in every 15,000 Tweets when they went through more than 125,000 English language ones with a fine-tooth comb. Researcher Demos said the most common jibes were "white boy", "paki", "white boy", "nigga", "spic", "crow", "squinty" and "wigga". Twitter's policy on racism and freedom of expression has come under the spotlight in the wake of high profile users questioning its guidelines. Prominent amongst them is ex-footballer and radio host Stan Collymore, who has re-tweeted some of the vile abuse he has received from followers. Collymore has accused Twitter of not doing enough to tackle illegal content and tweeted: "In the last 24 hours I've been threatened with murder several times, demeaned on my race, and many of these accounts are still active. Why? "I accuse Twitter directly of not doing enough to combat racist/homophobic/sexist hate messages, all of which are illegal in the UK." Although the study reckons 70% of the slurs were not used to cause offence, it concluded that at least 3,000 users sent a tweet indicating genuine racial or ethnic prejudice. Twitter has previously said it targeted abuse which contravened its rules and had processes to help police investigate.
© The International Business Times - UK

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ADL to Facebook: Remove Blatantly Anti-Semitic Page (USA)

5/2/2014- The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on Facebook to remove a “Jewish Ritual Murder” page that has been the subject of public criticism.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
The “Jewish Ritual Murder” page on Facebook perpetuates age-old anti-Semitic propaganda, and it should be removed immediately. It is profoundly offensive, has no socially redeeming value, and adds nothing to any legitimate marketplace of ideas. This page targets all Jews, and Facebook’s position that it technically does not violate their Community Standards because it does not target individuals is an unacceptable excuse. We do not believe that Facebook intends to send a message that they are insensitive to the enormous harm the blood libel has caused throughout Jewish history, and the easiest way for them to make that clear would be to exercise the discretion they certainly have to remove the page.

We have appreciated the responsiveness and sensitivity Facebook has shown on many other occasions, and we urge them to act quickly to address this situation.It appears Facebook doesn't plan to remove the page because it says it doesn't violate community standards. Despite Facebook's position, the ADL still believes the page should be pulled. "We do not believe that Facebook intends to send a message that they are insensitive to the enormous harm the blood libel has caused throughout Jewish history, and the easiest way for them to make that clear would be to exercise the discretion they certainly have to remove the page," Foxman said. ADL is known for going after Facebook and Twitter pages it believes perpetuate anti-Semitism and hate speech. In 2011, it successfully campaigned to get Facebook to remove a page calling for a Palestinian intifada.
© The Anti-Defamation League

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Why is Facebook Enabling Anti-Semites? (opinion)

By Dexter Van Zile 

4/2/2014- Father Coughlin is alive and well. He resides in an underground bunker he shares with Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh. The trio works for Mark Zuckerberg, responding to complaints about anti-Semitism on Facebook. When the three aren’t doing their job (which is most of the time), they’re collaborating on a “new and revised” edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They’re shopping it around and are having a tough time finding a publisher. Pluto Press said no and it’s not looking too good even at Pilgrim Press, so the troika is thinking of going the self-publishing route. What I just told you is a big fat lie (or actually a whole bunch of them), but it’s still the best I can do to explain why Facebook does such a terrible job dealing with anti-Semitism on its website.

Here’s what happens:
Anonymous (and sometimes not-so-anonymous) lunatics post hateful pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic stuff on Facebook. People dutifully complain about the stuff they see. Facebook responds by telling people that the imagery does not violate the company’s community standards, (which includes bans on hate speech and the promotion of violence). Who at Facebook sends out these messages? Really! If it isn’t the trio of Coughlin, Ford, and Lindbergh, then maybe Facebook has farmed out the job of enforcing its community standards to Islamists in Pakistan or Iran. Or maybe they’ve contracted with a joint venture that includes the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.

A while back, somebody from Bulgaria posted an image of a group of Nazi soldiers in the middle of massacring a group of Polish civilians. Underneath the photo the Bulgarian Facebook user photoshopped the Nike Swoosh with the trademark phrase, “Just Do It.” After I saw the image, I clicked the proper buttons to tell the good folks at Facebook that the image needed to be taken down. I figured Facebook would take it down immediately, but instead, I got a message back from Facebook that said that the image “doesn’t violate our Community Standards.” Being an Internet activist without peer (I work for CAMERA, mind you!), I wasn’t going to take no for an answer so I did the next necessary thing: I blogged about it! And then I got really serious and reached out to the folks at Nike and said something like, “Um, folks, somebody is using your trademark to promote Nazism.” That seemed to work. (I can’t take all the credit, because I’m sure that it occurred to other people that Nike wouldn’t want their trademark used in such a manner.) In any event, the image eventually came down and the user’s account was deleted from Facebook. Huzzah! The good guys won! And a huge victory it was! Antisemitism was forever banned from the pages of Facebook!

But alas, the battle continues.

Recently, my correspondents have alerted me to another page on Facebook. The end of the URL includes the phrase “The Truth About Jews” and the page itself promotes Blood Libels against the Jewish people. It’s titled “Jewish ritual murder.” The page has all the stuff you’d expect on an anti-Semitic Facebook page. It has 248 “Likes” and includes anti-Jewish libels from all over the world. The page includes a disclaimer that is simply bizarre: “Comments that are offensive, obscene, vulgar, irrelevant to this page or classified as spam will be removed.” The entire page is offensive and obscene. And the page, which has been in existence since March 2012, is an exercise in vulgar anti-Semitism. Yes, people have complained about the page. And yes, Facebook has responded with messages indicating that the page does not violate the company’s community standards. Will the page eventually be removed? Probably. But why doesn’t Facebook delete this stuff when first apprised of its presence on their website? Why should it take any more than one complaint for Facebook to do the right thing?

Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA).
© The Algemeiner

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Hoax message by far-right group about missing 'Amy Hamilton' reaches thousands (UK)

3/2/2014- A hoax message appealing for the return of a ‘kidnapped’ six-year-old girl has already reached thousands of people on social media sites. The poster, the work of Britons Against Left-wing Extremism, claims a girl named Amy Hamilton ‘is believed to have been kidnapped by an Asian grooming gang’. It continues, describing Amy – whose photograph is actually a painting taken from an artist’s Flickr page – as 6-years-old and last seen in the Croydon area of London wearing a pink top and blue jeans. However, no child named Amy Hamilton is missing from the London region or anywhere else in the UK. The group responsible for the hoax is a far-right group who also publish material via a blog called The Daily Bale. A tweet from their account bragged about the post and how many people had been fooled by it, saying: "An amazing 5000 people shared our Amy Hamilton, Missing poster on Facebook. “Let’s hope they catch the Asians responsible for taking her."
© The Staffordshire Newsletter

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Two West Bank settlers charged with incitement over racist website

'Hakol Hayehudi,’ based in the West Bank settlement Yitzhar, called for violence against Arabs.

2/2/2014- In a rare move, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has approved an indictment against two West Bank settlers for racism and incitement to violence, for their work on the website “Hakol Hayehudi,” which has praised violence against Arabs. “Hakol Hayehudi” (“The Jewish Voice”) was established by Yitzhar residents as a weekly pamphlet in 2003, with support from Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, under the tagline “News for Happy Jews.” Later, the pamphlet became a website featuring news and other articles, updated several times. The website advances Ginsburgh’s agenda on many subjects, including spiritual matters and relations with Arabs. The website advocates a policy of employing only Jews and features many articles supporting that position. “Hakol Hayehudi” has been a bother to the Shin Bet security service almost since the website’s inception, as a since-discontinued weekly feature that revealed some of the organization’s operating protocols. The website is widely believed to encourage youth to engage in “price tag” attacks against Palestinians.

In an indictment issued on Sunday by the Central District Court prosecutor, Yitzhar residents Yehoshua Hass, 41, and Avraham Binyamin, 29, were charged with incitement to violence and racism. Hass and Binyamin are listed as the founders of and primary contributors to “Hakol Hayehudi.” According to the charge sheet, they “systematically included content that incited to violence and racism against Arab Israelis and Arab Palestinians … including remarks labeling them as abhorrent, murderers, violent, wild, unruly, evil, obnoxious, terrorists, cruel, abusive, criminal, hostile and enemies.” The indictment includes 36 images of pages from the website. One article from March 2010 read: “In [the Jerusalem neighborhood] Pisgat Ze’ev, three Arabs were beaten while walking around the neighborhood. Thank God, the righteous people of Pisgat Ze’ev are hard on the abusive Arabs, and they created a Facebook group called ‘something must be done about Arabs going around with Jewish girls.’”

In July 2010, an article on the website read: “He came for entertainment, and in the end he was used for entertainment himself. A young Arab went this week to have a good time in [the Jerusalem neighborhood] Neve Ya’akov. The Arab’s hair was combed and gelled. A few happy Jews came along with clubs, fixed up his hair, and some other body parts too.” Another article dated November 2011 read: “How must we treat the enemy? A proposition for a practical plan … 1. Defining an enemy: An enemy is a people that sends individuals to engage in hostile activities against us. If that people, or their leadership, want to appear as if they’re unconnected from the fighting, they must prove that by taking active steps and extraditing these offenders. Any other action is actually a show of support of fighting against us, and that defines the entire population as an enemy. And, of course, an enemy we must fight.”

An article from 2012 entitled “Why I understand activists in favor of mutual responsibility” read: “Why harm Arabs? Once we understood that there is anarchy here, we see that the actions of the government against Jews are not done by rule of law, but they are part of the anarchy. Activists against these actions are meant to be a signal both for the Arabs, and for the institution as well: If the public decides to be violent and win through anarchy, then that goes both ways.”
© Haaretz

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Headlines January 2014

How should we prepare our children for racism? (UK, comment)

The number of children seeking counselling from Childline for racist bullying increased by over two-thirds in 2013 
By Yasmin Gunaratnam

31/1/2014- A recent report on racist bullying by ChildLine and a commentary by the teacher and black feminist Lola Okolosie on her experiences of ‘intra-racism’ among minority ethnic pupils have reinvigorated discussions prevalent in the 1980s and 90s about racism in schools. The ChildLine report showed that the number of children seeking counselling from the charity for racist bullying had increased by over two-thirds in 2013, rising to 1,400 reported incidents. Islamophobia was highlighted as a particular concern, with Muslim children being called “terrorists” and “bombers” by classmates. Other children were bullied because of their looks or because they were recent migrants. In a ChildLine counselling session, a girl of 13, described the slow erosion of her confidence. “I used to be proud of my roots until I started getting bullied at school because I look different to everyone else in my year. They tell me to go back to where I came from and that I’m ugly or horrible to look at. I know they’re trying to make me feel bad about myself and it’s starting to work.”

For Lola Okolosie, as a teacher in London, there is also another side to racist bullying – how racism can be a part of the mortar of everyday intimidation and aggression between pupils. “Walk into any multicultural school in our large cities and you will find that black and brown students will readily take part in racist bullying against each other’ Okolosie writes. As chilling as these examples are, such experiences are only part of the problem of childhood racism. An issue that is rarely talked about is how racism affects parenting. For anyone who is the parent of a child who is racially marked in some way because of their colour, or cultural and faith difference, it is almost impossible not to have thought about how our children will negotiate their way through a world of varying racist heat. Should we protect them for as long as we can from an awareness of racism? Should we practice a version of psychological inoculation – exposing our children to racism in the hope that it might build future resilience?

As a parent, researcher and former school governor I have come across both approaches - and parents often vary their strategies according to a child’s age or disposition. The writing of the black feminist and poet Audre Lorder is strewn with autobiographical accounts of her parents’ protective dissimulation in the face of racism in the streets, on public transport and in restaurants when she was growing up in the 1940’s US. In one account, Lorde recalls how her mother always carried small pieces of newspaper in her purse to wipe-off salvia spat at them at ‘random’ on the street. “It never occurred to me to doubt her. It was not until years later once in conversation I said to her: “Have you noticed people don’t spit into the wind so much as they used to?” And the look on my mother’s face told me that I blundered into one of those secret places of pain that must never be spoken of again.”

For Lorde, this shattering of the warm security of a childhood world, was more than the loss of innocence and exile that we all experience when early memories are recast. Seeing hatred and violence wrapped around her family’s everyday life was an existential as much as a political jolt in adulthood. In a research study on the transition to first time motherhood in the East End of London, I also came across the psychological inoculation approach to dealing with Islamaphobia among Muslim mothers of Bangladeshi heritage. Some mothers felt that if they didn’t educate their children about racism, particularly when they experienced abuse in the street, it could be a more devastating shock in later life. One mother linked the difficulties of these childhood experiences to the Islamic concept of Jihad as struggle, seeing it as a responsibility to educate her children about religious and racist intolerance. She told me “I’d like them to be out there and struggle to actually practice their religion, and see others, and have that respect back, rather than being cushioned.”

Racism blights and complicates childhood and parenting and we actually know very little about the corrosive damage or long term reverberations that living with racism inflicts upon children and parents. A paradox is that greater awareness of racism in the form of the diversity curriculum or perhaps through parents sharing their experiences does not necessarily help with promoting mental wellbeing or resilience. The Martinique-born psychiatrist and post-colonial scholar Franz Fanon believed that living with any consciousness of racism is to live in a ‘constellation of delirium’, forever bordering on madness. It is certainly true that as you gain more knowledge about what racism is and how it works, you are likely to encounter more aggression, denial, guilt and the most perverse of all: hurt innocence – ‘I never meant it like that’, ‘I don’t know what you mean’, ‘Are you sure?’ Life can become more fraught and difficult; more choices have to be made, costs and benefits need to be taken into account. Do you recognise and challenge racism? Do you let it go?

At this time of increasing intolerance these are questions we all need to think about.
© The Independent

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Kosovo Online Media Urged to Curb Hate Speech

An NGO in Pristina has urged online media outlets to ban readers’ comments that are flagrantly offensive and incite hatred - saying very few of them now exercise any such control.

31/1/2014- The Youth Initiative for Human Rights said a large number of online media in Kosovo permit "offensive, denigrating and humiliating language, which potentially incite hatred”. After monitoring nine Kosovo websites in 2012 and 2013, the NGO concluded that most portals "do not filter comments at all, allowing hate speech through insulting expressions, denigration, humiliation and often also calls for violence against certain persons or groups. “Expressions like ‘shkijet’ (an offensive term for Serbs), ‘maxhup’ (an offensive term for Roma), ‘pedera’ (an offensive term for gays) are common in portals, with some exceptions”, the organisation said it its report, “In the name of freedom of expression”.

Alma Lama, a lawmaker, harshly criticized Kosovo's news portals, claiming that “most are part of someone’s political agenda and serve political parties. I am not talking just about parties which are fundamentalist and want Sharia law, I am also talking about other parties,” she said. Lama was attacked in various news portals after she criticized the speech of a Muslim cleric on the role of women in society. “These media do not obey the law,” she said. Incitement to hatred is a criminal offence in Kosovo, punishable by a fine or imprisonment up to ten years. However, Adriatik Kelmendi, an editor at TV KohaVision, said censorshop was not the answer. “This problem cannot be solved by closing comments or detaining people,” he said. “There is a need to educate and raise awareness among the media. On the other hand, the media have to become more determined [to address the matter].”

The Press Council of Kosovo, one of the main bodies responsible to tracking the print media, has no power to fine media outlets, but advocates obedience to a code of conduct for the media. The code, based on international standards of journalistic practice, is intended as the foundation of a system of self-regulation that should be considered binding on reporters, editors, owners and publishers of newspapers and periodicals. Imer Mushkolaj, deputy head of the board of the Council, said online media are responsible for the comments they publish, "just as they are responsible for the news articles they print”. The annual report for 2012 of the Independent Media Commission, IMC, said 83 radio and 21 TV stations were operating in Kosovo in 2012 alongside eight daily newspapers. There are no figures on the number of news portals operating in the country.
© Balkan Insight

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French Jews take YouTube to court over ‘year of quenelle’ video

31/1/2014- A Jewish student group petitioned a French court to order the removal of a YouTube video in which the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala celebrates the quenelle. The petition filed this week with the Paris Court of Grands Instances by the Union of Jewish Students of France, or UEJF, concerns a video posted Dec. 31 by Dieudonne, who has been convicted seven times for inciting racial hatred against Jews. In the video, Dieudonne declares that 2014 will be “the year of the quenelle.” The quenelle is the name invented for a gesture Dieudonne devised in which an arm is extended over the chest while pointing downward with the other arm. France’s interior minister, Manuel Valls, said in December that the gesture was a “salute of anti-Semitic hatred.” Some practitioners of the salute say it is simply an anti-establishment gesture.

A preliminary ruling on the union’s petition is scheduled to be handed down on Feb. 12, the French Liberation daily reported Wednesday. More than 3.5 million viewers have seen the video, the paper reported. Last year, UEJF won a legal battle against Twitter, requiring that the American social networking site divulge details about users who violated French laws against hate speech with anti-Semitic statements. Earlier this week, the Jewish community of Annecy in eastern France filed a complaint with police against unidentified individuals who painted a swastika on a memorial plaque commemorating Jewish children who were murdered in the Holocaust. Members of the Jewish community found the graffiti at the entrance to the Quai Jules Philippe School in the town.
© JTA News.

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Online anti-black racism cases double after Zwarte Piet debate (Netherlands)

28/1/2014- Anti Black “online” racism doubled last year, according to the annual report of the Hotline Internet Discrimination, a division of the Magenta Foundation, which was recently published. The Hotline thinks the Black Piet debate caused a spike in racist comments online. With 193 registered complaints about racist comments, of which 103 punishable acts, online anti-black racist comments doubled compared to 2012. Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic complaints still take first and second place, same as in 2012 and the year before. Anti-black racism however doubled, and went from 5th place last year, after discrimination based on different nationality on third, and discrimination against Moroccans on fourth, to third place in 2013, due to the Black Piet discussions.
© The NL Times

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Social media driving racism (Australia)

Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner has rung the warning bell on cyber racism, saying networking sites are increasingly being used to air racist sentiments.

27/1/2014- In Perth to address University of WA students on race and patriotism, Tim Soutphommasane expressed concern about what he said was a "very marked increase" in cyber-racism complaints. Complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission citing racial hatred rose 59 per cent in 2012-13, fuelled in part by a surge in cyber-racism complaints. Cyber racism accounted for 41 per cent of the racial hatred complaints, up from 17 per cent the previous year. "These are all reminders we cannot be complacent about racism," Dr Soutphommasane told The West Australian. "While over the long run we have done very well and we have been an open and generous country, we cannot take this for granted. "We see a lot of racism now being aired on Facebook or through YouTube. This adds a new dimension to the challenge of fighting racism. "There was a very marked increase in cyber-racism complains in the past year. It's still too early to know whether it's a definitive trend … but there's enough there to suggest we have to take care and monitor it."

One Facebook page dubbed "completely inappropriate" by then communications minister Stephen Conroy for its racist depictions of Aboriginal people, was posting again this month despite all but shutting down in 2012 after bad publicity and an online petition that got more than 20,000 signatures. Yesterday, the Royal Australian Navy confirmed it was investigating allegations some of its members belonged to a Facebook group called Australian Defence League, which claims to protect the rights "of all people to protest against radical Islam's encroachment into the lives of non-Muslims". Dr Soutphommasane said Australia should not forget it had "been a tremendous success as a multicultural society". "We have absorbed millions of migrants into our national community without social fragmentation, certainly without the kind of social fragmentation that you've seen in Europe, but racism remains, and the need to combat racism should continue to be a priority when we consider our social cohesion," he said.
© The West Australian

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Facebook shuts vile Aboriginal memes page, despite earlier claiming it didn't constitute 'hate speech' (Australia)

FACEBOOK has shut down a racist Facebook page which vilified Indigenous Australians with revolting jokes and illustrations, despite earlier telling a complainant the page was acceptable under its 'community standards' policy.

27/1/2014- The Aboriginal Memes 2014 page was today shut down after a query from News Corp about why it failed to be classified as 'hate speech' under the social networking site's community standards policy. It featured so-called jokes referencing the Stolen Generation and poverty among other issues too inflammatory to reference. Facebook supplied a statement yesterday that said: "We remove content that is reported to us that violates our policies. Our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that everyone agrees to when they create an account and which are linked to throughout the site explains what is and is not permitted on the site and explicitly prohibits hate speech." But earlier the site had responded to a complainant with a statement that said: "We reviewed the page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards."

The action by Facebook today was similar to the site's response in 2012, when the social network shut down the page "Aboriginal Memes" when the Australian Communications and Media Authority announced it would investigate it after repeated complaints failed to have it closed. And late last year, Facebook shut down Centrelink Memes following inquiries into why the page had been cleared of violating the social network's hate speech guidelines. All three pages used similar graphics and text. The latest Facebook racism controversy comes a day after footballer and anti-racism campaigner Adam Goodes was named Australian of the Year for his work combating racism. In 2012, the Aboriginal Memes page become international news, with the Facebook page reported to be the work of a then 16-year-old Perth teenager.

The Online Hate Prevention Institute has been leading the campaign against the online attacks on indigenous Australians, releasing a report in 2012 into the Aboriginal Memes site. The institute report highlighted the unwillingness of Facebook to recognise comments as hate speech. Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute, said Facebook should be congratulated for addressing the problem quicker than in the past but it was concerned that initial response to complaints about the page was to reject it. "Rejecting reports of racism sends the wrong message to both users reporting the hate and to those who promote hate. It sends a message that such content is acceptable," he said. "OHPI's data shows that the person behind this latest page was involved in multiple hate pages and is cooperating with people running a wider network of hate pages against multiple ethnic communities. "As a result the Aboriginal Memes 2014 page was promoted across a range of pages which are still carrying some of the same content; one such page is Aussie Bogan Memes which has almost 3000 supporters."
© News Australie

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Pope: Internet is a 'gift from God' for dialogue

23/1/2014- The Internet is a "gift from God" that facilitates communication, Pope Francis said in a statement released Thursday, but he warns that the obsessive desire to stay connected can actually isolate people from their friends and family. Francis made the observations in a message about Catholic Church communications, meditating on the marvels and perils of the digital era and what that means for the faithful going out into the world and interacting with people of different faiths and backgrounds. In comments that will likely rile the more conservative wing of the church, Francis suggested that in engaging in that dialogue, Catholics shouldn't be arrogant in insisting that they alone possess the truth. "To (have a) dialogue means to believe that the 'other' has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective," Francis wrote. "Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the pretense that they alone are valid and absolute."

According to church teaching distilled by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Catholic Church holds the "fullness of the means of salvation" — a message that has long been taken to mean that only Catholics can find salvation. Church teaching also holds that those who don't know about Jesus but seek God can also attain eternal salvation. Pope Benedict XVI was a strong proponent of engaging in interreligious dialogue, but Francis has offered a softer approach in his sermons and gestures. In one famous off-the-cuff homily, he suggested that even atheists can find salvation. He also riled some conservatives when he washed the feet of two Muslims during the Holy Thursday re-enactment of Christ washing the feet of his apostles. Archbishop Claudio Mario Celli, the head of the Vatican's social communications office, said he didn't think Francis was making an official policy statement on interreligious dialogue, noting that the message was merely a reflection, "not a conciliar or dogmatic text." But he acknowledged that Francis is shaking things up in much the same "providential" way Pope John XXIII shook up the church in launching the Second Vatican Council.

"We are realizing that there are sensations of, I wouldn't say difficulty, but of discomfort sometimes in certain circles," he said. "I think step by step we must rediscover a sense of the path, of what the pope wants to tell us." In his message Thursday, Francis said the Internet offers "immense possibilities" to encounter people from different cultural and traditional backgrounds and show solidarity with them. "This is something truly good, a gift from God," he wrote. But he warned: "The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbors, from those closest to us." He called for communications in the digital era to be like "a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts" and for the church's message to not be one of bombarding others with Christian dogma. "May the light we bring to others not be the result of cosmetics or special effects, but rather of our being loving and merciful neighbors to those wounded and left on the side of the road," he said.
© The Malta Independent

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Football star Stan Collymore: ‘Twitter is not doing enough to combat homophobic hate’(UK)

Former footballer Stan Collymore has accused Twitter of “not doing enough” to combat racist and homophobic comments on the social media platform.

22/1/2014- Police have confirmed they are investigating a series of offensive messages directed at the ex-England striker, which were sparked after the footbal pundit suggested Liverpool striker Luis Suárez cheated by diving during last Saturday’s match against Aston Villa. Mr Collymore said: “In the last 24 hours I’ve been threatened with murder several times, demeaned on my race, and many of these accounts are still active. Why? “I accuse Twitter directly of not doing enough to combat racist/homophobic /sexist hate messages, all of which are illegal in the UK.” He added later: “Several police forces have been fantastic. Twitter haven’t. Dismayed.” The football pundit said he had been contacted on Twitter by gay people who have received “horrific abuse” and warned Twitter had a responsibility to act on illegal tweets. He said he wanted to use Twitter to debate subjects including football.

“If we disagree… absolutely fine, but I shouldn’t be racially abused for it, I shouldn’t have somebody that tweets me two days ago saying, ‘I’m going to turn up at your house and murder you’,” he said. “I mean this is just sheer lunacy and Twitter at the moment, I don’t think they know what to do.” West Midlands Police confirmed on its Twitter page that Staffordshire Police were investigating “alleged abusive tweets to Stan Collymore” and urged people to block and report abuse at www.report-it.org.uk A Twitter spokeswoman said the company was unable to comment on individual users. However, she pointed out that targeted abuse was against its rules and the site had recently made it easier for users to report abusive messages to them.
© Pink News

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Politician's anti-neo-Nazi speech becomes YouTube hit (Germany)

A young Social Democrat politician spoke out against xenophobia at a rally of Germany's right-wing NPD party. The video of his speech became a YouTube favorite, even though - or because - the NPD is trying to ban it.

18/1/2014- Patrick Dahlemann has more than 5,000 Facebook friends - and that number is growing by the hour. He's become a hero in a matter of days since he posted a video that's been giving the right-wing National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) party a headache. The video shows him delivering a fervent speech against xenophobia and the NPD's policies and makes a heartfelt plea for more humanity.

Here's how it happened.
The NPD held a rally in late July against plans to set up a home for asylum seekers in a small town in the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. A few NPD members and supporters had planted themselves in front of the estate that was supposed to be converted into the asylum-seekers' home. The NPD is stronger in eastern Germany than the rest of the country and especially strong in smaller towns and rural regions. Stefan Köster, the state's NPD leader, was there chanting the party's xenophobic slogans. The 25-year-old Social Democratic Party (SPD) member Patrick Dahlemann was in the audience and wanted to refute Köster. Astonishingly, the NPD politician gave the microphone to Dahlemann. Ignoring the heckling from the audience, Dahlemann made a plea, "Please don't fall for what these neo-Nazis are telling you." The whole thing was filmed and Dahlemann has used excerpts from this video to make his own short film. It shows the Social Democrat's own speech and parts of Köster's speech. Dahlemann commented on the NPD politician's statements and also talks to a police officer who confirmed that Köster's slogans were xenophobic. The film's goal is to educate and sensitize people to the NPD's far-right propaganda.

Fight against the Hydra
Dahlemann recently uploaded the film to his YouTube channel. The video became popular quickly and garnered 180,000 clicks in just a few days. But then it was suddenly gone. The NPD managed to convince YouTube to delete the clip. Their reason: the party owns any pictures or videos of their events. Viewers looking for the film on YouTube only got the message that the video was not available anymore because of copyright issues involving the NPD. But the right-wing party hasn't reacted quickly enough. Many users have uploaded the clip to YouTube themselves. It seems that as soon the NPD has one link deleted, two others pop up. "The NPD is trying to ban this video from the Internet," one YouTube user wrote. "Me and many other people are trying to prevent that from happening. That's why I, too, posted the video on YouTube and Google+." Dahlemann's speech is not the first video that's causing trouble for the NPD. In 2007, Germany's famous transvestite Olivia Jones reported from the NPD party convention for a German TV channel and asked attendees why people should vote for the NPD. Hardly any party members were able to answer the question. Jones and her camera crew had plenty of time to show up the rightwing xenophobes. A satire magazine uploaded the video online and it has become an instant hit with more than 2 million hits.

"He should run for chancellor"
Dahlemann's efforts weren't about ridiculing the NPD, but exposing how the NPD tries to lure in new voters. That has made him German Internet users' new favorite politician. "Awesome, great, he should run for chancellor," one user wrote. Another proclaimed: "I am really excited by this kind of commitment. To stand up in front of a crowd of neo-Nazis is truly impressive." Dahlemann said he is happy about all the support and shrugged off the inevitable threats from the right. He announced on his Facebook page that the short film "can be found on numerous sites and video platforms." Facebook users have also showered him with praise and support: "Respect! This is the right way to deal with these people. Fantastic. Stick to your guns."
© The Deutsche Welle.

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INACH - International Network Against CyberHate

The object of INACH, the International Network Against Cyberhate is to combat discrimination on the Internet. INACH is a foundation under Dutch Law and is seated in Amsterdam. INACH was founded on October 4, 2002 by Jugendschutz.net and Magenta Foundation, Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet.