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Equinet condemns threatening or hateful speech online

October 21st 2016

Following the recent focus on the important work of journalists to promote equality and diversity, Equinet is deeply concerned to hear that one of the winners of the European Journalism Award on Diversity has received hateful and threatening posts on social media.

We condemn all forms of online hate speech, and do not tolerate trolls who threaten the work of journalists in general.

Background

Equinet was very proud to participate in the European Journalism Award on Diversity. Many of our members helped identify the most suitable national articles, and our Secretariat was pleased to participate in the European jury.

However, since the award winners were announced at the An Post award ceremony in Dublin on 17 October last, one of the winners has received hateful messages.

Imane Rachidi (Spain) was one of three winners for her article ’Being Muslim, gay and an imam in Europe: "The Koran doesn’t say anything against homosexuals"’. (Read article in Spanish here). The article gained renewed interest following this announcement, and as a result, she received threatening comments on Twitter which told her to stop writing about homosexuality in the context of Arabs (in less polite terms than that!)

We strongly condemn this kind of hateful and threatening behaviour and not only vouch for the good work of Imane as a journalist, but also support the work of all journalists working to promote equality and diversity across Europe.

The perpetrator of this attack has been reported to the relevant authorities.

Code of Conduct on illegal online hate speech

We also support the Code of Conduct on illegal online hate speech, recently signed by the European Commission and relevant IT companies such as Twitter and Facebook. As Twitter’s Head of Public Policy for Europe, Karen White, commented at the time: “Hateful conduct has no place on Twitter and we will continue to tackle this issue head on alongside our partners in industry and civil society. We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow. However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate. In tandem with actioning hateful conduct that breaches Twitter’s Rules, we also leverage the platform’s incredible capabilities to empower positive voices, to challenge prejudice and to tackle the deeper root causes of intolerance. We look forward to further constructive dialogue between the European Commission, member states, our partners in civil society and our peers in the technology sector on this issue.”

(The photo for this article came from here).