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IFJ Convenes International conference on Media , Armed Conflict and Hate Speech

April 13, 2014

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is organising a conference on media, armed conflict and hate speech on 25 April 2014 in Brussels.

The conference, supported by UNESCO, will discuss the lessons learned from the role Rwandan media played during the genocide of Tutsi in 1994 and in other conflicts where media fuelled hatred and violence.

“The appalling broadcasts of the infamous Radio Télévision des Mille Colline (RTLM) listing people to be killed and indicating killers where brought journalism into disrepute,“ said IFJ President Jim Boumelha, who will open the conference.

“Unfortunately, since then, we have witnessed other conflicts in which media turned peaceful communities against each other and into cheerleaders for violence. This conference will give us an opportunity address reasons for which media can be used to serve war and hate propaganda.”

In particular, the conference will examine the issue of hate speech and tackle the role of social media where digital hate content can exacerbate tensions.

“There is an urgent need to come up with an international consensus on what constitutes hate speech, especially in relation to a discourse on religion, gender and sexual orientations, added Boumelha.

“The other pressing issue in today’s digital era is the ability for anyone, from anywhere and often anonymously, to create and post hate content online. This conference offers a forum for journalists to adopt strategies necessary to maintain the standards and ethics of our profession in a rapidly changing world.”

The one-day conference will bring together academics, journalists, lawyers, diplomats and historians to exchange on these important challenges professional journalists face in their daily work.

The conference will take place in the Polak Room of the International Press Centre, Residence Palace in Brussels from 9 a.m. – 5.p.m;

Anyone interested in attending should register by sending an email to ernest.sagaga(at)ifj(dot)org

For more information contact:
Ernest Sagaga
IFJ Head of Human Rights and Safety
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 2 235 2207
Email: ernest.sagaga(at)ifj(dot)org

Andrew Kennedy
IFJ Communications Officer
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 2 235 22 17

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