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Confronting hate speech in Italy and Europe

Hate speech is one of the most debated issues at global level. In recent years groups inciting discrimination and violence have found new platforms online that give them access to audiences never reached before. Finding ways to develop counter-narratives and combat hate speech both online and in the real-world is a priority for educators, communications specialists and policymakers worldwide.

As an expert on verbal aggression, language and discrimination, and hate speech, I have trained hundreds of journalists and media professionals all over Italy since 2015. As a consultant of Amnesty International Italia since 2018, I have also trained and supervised activists involved in Amnesty’s Task Force Hate Speech. This collaboration has led to the creation of the Rete nazionale per il contrasto ai discorsi e ai fenomeni d‘odio, which I have coordinated since 2020. Unique in its genre, this network pulls together 40 stakeholders – including academics, research centres, NGOs, civil society, and professional associations – to:

  • monitor, study, contrast hate speech and hate crime
  • raise public awareness through campaigns and training activities
  • promote anti-discrimination policies at local, national and international level.

As a result of my work in this field, I was recently appointed as one of the 16 members of the Committee of experts on combating hate speech of the Council of Europe. During 2020/21, we produced new Recommendations to combat hate speech for the 46 countries of the Council. In recognition of my work as a scholar and within the committee, in 2021 I was also appointed Regional Expert on hate speech for the Western Balkans. In this role, I have co-authored the Council of Europe’s report Beyond definition. A call for action against hate speech in Albania. On behalf of the Council of Europe, I am currently supervising Hate Speech in Political, Public and Media Discourse in Kosovo: A Pilot Survey, which should inform the Ombudsperson’s national strategy to prevent and combat hate speech in Kosovo.

Find out more about Federico Faloppa's research