#againsthatespeech - Outreach against hate on the internet

Jolanda Spiess-Hegglin from the association #NetzCourage was called in online for the JointAction Talk. On the photo: Moderator Kevin Ischi from young@mission21, Yunita Tan and Wawan Gunawan from Jakatarub and translator Tania Beck.

The phenomenon of violence and hatred on the Internet is not only known in Europe or the USA, but worldwide. Jakatarub, a partner network of Mission 21 in Indonesia, is also affected by hate speech on the web and works to promote peaceful coexistence between religions. In the Joint Action Talk, Yunita Tan and Wawan Gunawan from Jakatarub met Jolanda Spiess-Hegglin. She is involved in the association #NetzCourage among other things with workshops in school classes against hate. As part of this year's JointAction of young@mission21, the guests discussed similarities and differences. All three support the online campaign #againsthatespeech.

Fear as a political instrument

"Hate on the Internet is part of the Swiss political system. Opinion makers deliberately stir up fears and use them as a political tool," says Jolanda Spiess-Hegglin. She speaks of a vicious circle. The media spread hate. This is picked up on social media. The hate speech on the Internet, in turn, is picked up by the media in their reporting.

Wawan Gunawan and Yunita Tan have similar experiences in Indonesia: "Hate is actively stirred up on the Internet, especially during political campaigns. In Indonesia, hate speech on the Internet is often followed by real attacks. Religious institutions, for example, are repeatedly attacked by mobs.

Women as a target

"The situation in Switzerland is far less dramatic, of course. We hardly have to expect attacks," explains Jolanda Spiess-Hegglin - but hate on the net is still a real problem. In her work for the #NetzCourage association, she deals intensively with people who spread hate on the Net. She notes that "the classic haters are older Swiss men. The targets are mostly women. In this context, Spiess-Hegglin points to the women's right to vote, which was not fought for in Switzerland until 1971. Many men still find it difficult when women express their opinions in public. They attack women on the Internet in order to silence them.

Jakatarub can also confirm that women in Indonesia are attacked more frequently online than men. In multi-ethnic and multi-religious Indonesia, minorities are also severely affected. For example, the Chinese, Jewish and Christian populations suffer particularly from attacks. But moderate Muslim men and women and the Islamic minority "Ahmadiyya" are also attacked by radical groups. "The sad thing is that actually only a small part of the population spreads hate. However, this one is particularly loud," Wawan Gunawan regrets.

Legal situation deficient

Laws against defamation and racism do exist in Indonesia, as they do in Switzerland. In Indonesia in particular, however, there is a lack of implementation of these laws. Crimes on the Internet are hardly prosecuted.

Jolanda Spiess-Hegglin would like to see a cyberbullying law for Switzerland that is more specific to the needs of the digital age: "Legislation has not yet arrived in the digital age."

Educational work is necessary

"I admire Switzerland for its good education system, which includes media studies in the classroom," says peace activist Yunita Tan. In Indonesia, she says, there is a real education problem. For example, people have difficulty distinguishing between fake news and the truth. This is one of the reasons why hate speech is spread so quickly, because people hardly have any methods of classifying the information correctly.

Educational work is urgently needed. Jakatarub therefore places a special focus on social media in its peace campaigns. For example, they produce Videos, which are intended to promote peace and respect in society.

Jolanda Spies-Hegglin also says: "Civil society is needed. We all have to get involved against hate on the Internet!"

Text & Photo: Eva Sidler

► Under#youngatmission21jointaction calls young@mission21 on social media to treat each other with respect. 

► Association #NetCourage

Mission 21's peace work in Indonesia

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