COACH Countering online antigypsyism and cyber hate

In 2019, 94% of young people in the EU used the internet on a daily basis, up from 77% in 2016. Participation in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is the third most common social activity (84%) for young people. Internet users in Slovakia and Bulgaria are fed with stereotypical information, including negative pictures and biased reports about Roma. Unbalanced and discriminatory information and comments about Roma are widely disseminated, especially on social media. Internet users lack information about Roma communities, including information and stories coming from the Roma community itself. This project enables Roma and non-Roma NGOs to build their own campaigns against hate speech against Roma. Campaigns and measures to counter hate speech and the relevant stakeholders lack an understanding of the needs and problems of Roma, as well as how to reach Roma and how to encourage their participation. When antigypsyism is addressed, it is usually funded and treated separately, whereas to effectively counter online hate speech, antigypsyism needs to be integrated into mainstream anti-racism and anti-hate speech measures.

The overall aim of this project is to counter illegal online hate speech against Roma by supporting the development of balanced online narratives and encouraging critical thinking among internet users in Slovakia and Bulgaria.
Raise awareness of Roma rights and realities by disseminating accurate and positive narratives among internet users. Increase positive and accurate narratives online regarding Roma communities – in the form of short films, infographics, photo narratives, online articles, social media campaigns. Improve available data and analysis on online hate speech in Slovakia and Bulgaria Increase knowledge of key stakeholders (CSOs, activists and decision makers) on the scope and different types of online hate speech, antigypsyism and the best ways to counter it.

Specifically, this project aims to counter illegal online hate speech against Roma by:
1. raising awareness of Roma rights by spreading accurate and positive narratives among internet users;
2. supporting the development of balanced narratives online, encouraging critical thinking among internet users and strengthening the knowledge and capacity of key stakeholders (CSOs, activists and decision-makers) to counter.
To achieve this, we propose a series of interlinked activities:
1. Online counter-narrative campaigns to raise awareness of internet users (especially youth) throughout the period of promoting tolerance narratives online.
2. Much needed monitoring in target countries to collect and produce up-to-date data and cutting-edge research on social media responses to online hate speech, with a focus on online antigypsyism.
3. Activities to present and disseminate the main findings and recommendations of the action, including a national conference and a European advocacy meeting. These will increase knowledge about the phenomenon of online hate speech against Roma and strengthen cooperation between partners and decision-makers towards identifying weaknesses in the current regulatory framework and more effective ways to prevent, report, train and raise awareness about online hate speech. Finally, this action will also contribute to the achievement of Priority 1 as it will accelerate the implementation of the EU strategic framework for Roma on equality, inclusion and participation and tackle antigypsyism.


MRG – Hungary
Center Amalipe, Bulgaria

The project will be two years long and will end on 30 November 2024. The project is funded by the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV).