Combating online hate (Czech Rep)

Together with its partner organizations, the European Roma Rights Centre and Romea , FORUM is implementing a project entitled “Combating Hate Speech on the Internet against Roma in the Czech Republic”. The aim of this project is to combat online hate speech through volunteers who collect, report and also confront the content of hateful posts in the online space. The evidence collected in this way is then used for further legal action. The project runs from January 2022 to October 2023.

As part of the project, FORUM lawyers have documented in detail legal regulations regarding hate speech in the Czech Republic, the EU and the Council of Europe and have prepared legal strategies for combating hate speech online, which they will then use in the representation of specific cases.

In collaboration with volunteers from the ROMEA organization and their coordinator, our lawyers identified three individuals who have consistently published hate content on social media that grossly violated the rights of the Romani community. The volunteers, in cooperation with the lawyers, documented the activities of these individuals and in October 2022 forwarded them to the police authorities in the form of criminal complaints. These cases concern social media users who repeatedly posted racist statements calling for violence against (or in cases, the elimination of) Romani people. These statements may amount to the criminal offence of incitement to hatred against a group of persons under Section 356 of the Czech Criminal Code.

In January 2024, FORUM, in collaboration with the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and, as part of this volunteer-led project, released a publication exposing the state of online hate against Roma in the country as well as a policy guide detailing what the government must do if it wants to effectively challenge it. The publications are the culmination of an innovative, volunteer-led process which has successfully demonstrated how Roma can effectively take charge of their rights by recording hate speech and filing criminal complaints against those who seek to incite racial hatred with impunity.

Our project partners are: 

The project was supported by the EVZ Foundation (Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft).