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Strategic Council for the Prevention of Hate Speech related to Prevention

At the 4th meeting of the Strategic Council for the Prevention of Hate Speech, the members discussed the area of prevention. They concluded that hate speech is a complex phenomenon, the prevention of which should extend to various areas of social activity. It has to be acknowledged that hate speech is both a cause and a consequence of violence, and the answer to it is the establishment of tolerant and supportive communities.

The Strategic Council drew up proposals for recommendations with regard to awareness-raising, analysis and monitoring, measures in the area of marginalised, vulnerable, and economically disadvantaged groups, sports, and companies. The proposals were created based on discussions with non-governmental organisations and experts.

Among other things, the Council adopted the following recommendations:

  • The government should provide a systemic source of funding for the extensive and continuous implementation of preventive activities with regard to hate speech. Preventive activities should include a wide range of approaches covering different groups and all regions.
  • The Ministry of Education should create a standardised internal evaluation measuring instrument for kindergartens, schools, educational institutions, and public institutions, which should serve to evaluate the situation, and pay special attention to content that will provide a sense of safety and security.
  • The government should strengthen work with users, especially work with families, victims, and perpetrators of violence, at social work centres and non-governmental organisations. To that end, it should strengthen education and training with regard to domestic violence, gender-based violence, and hate speech. The government should alleviate the burden of bureaucratic tasks, administration, and decision-making regarding rights (where there are no elements of social work) on social work centres.
  • The mental health centres for children and adolescents currently being established are among the most important institutions for dealing with distress affecting children and adolescents. However, their full operation is prevented by a lack of personnel. The government should immediately take measures towards increasing personnel at mental health centres for children and adolescents, which should cover an education system, a salary system, and a work organisation system that enable workers to remain in the institutions for the long term.

The Ukom director, Petra Bezjak Cirman, submitted her proposal of recommendations: a national interdepartmental awareness-raising campaign, hate speech prevention strategy, and action plan should be created. Hate speech topics should be included in a student government simulation meeting. Long-term and stable funding of civil society and research projects should be ensured (Spletno oko, Časoris).

The Strategic Council took the decision to organise open, inclusive consultations for each content area, which enable the highest level of discussion, before final recommendations are adopted.

Given the recent tragedy in Belgrade, the Strategic Council recommends the organisation of intergenerational consultation between children and decision-makers in order to draw up system recommendations, and to reacquaint the relevant ministries with the Council's recommendations with regard to the education sector. The Strategic Council members expressed their desire to be the Prime Minister's consultation partner in acute situations.