Combating online hate (Slovakia)

FORUM is part of a coalition of non-profit organisations that are implementing a European project called “Challenging online and offline Roma discrimination in Europe (COORDE).” The project connects volunteers with lawyers dedicated to defending victims of discrimination and hate speech. It therefore has the potential to strengthen the Roma community’s trust in the rule of law and to mobilise people to take active action against discrimination and hate speech. The project runs for two years, from April 2022 to March 2024.

The aim of the project is to mobilise volunteers and members of the Roma community to fight against discrimination and hate speech on the internet, as well as discrimination and hate speech in everyday life that Roma face in accessing public services and exercising their fundamental rights. The volunteers will be tasked with collecting evidence of hate speech on and off the internet, which will form the basis for subsequent legal action against the perpetrators or other responsible actors.

Our project partners are:

As part of the project, we are part of the initiatives:

Within the framework of the project, a group of volunteers, ROMAntici (the name can be translated as ROMAntics), has been created. The volunteers from Roma and non-Roma background regularly monitor and report hate speech against the Roma community on social media.

ROMAntici also create media content to draw attention to the growing hate on the internet.

They have their BLOG and you can follow ROMAntici on social media here:

They are also engaged in publishing and research activities

They have taken a number of legal steps to combat online hate

  • They filed 6 criminal complaints against individuals who spread hateful narratives about Roma on social networks. Their goal is to make online hate speech a criminal offence.
  • In addition, ROMAntics established a successful cooperation with the Media Service Council, which was able to start the first (media covered) administrative proceedings (a, b) to prevent the spread of illegal content thanks to them. ROMAntics submitted more than 100 complaints to the Media Services Council about hateful comments found on various social networks.

As part of the project, they attend various specialized trainings, workshops, webinars, discussion circles, meetings with volunteers from other countries, etc.

On 16 and 17 September 2022, we organized an introductory training for ROMAntiks at the University Library in Bratislava. The training was attended by ROMAnticists from different parts of Slovakia and abroad who are interested in getting involved in the fight against hate on the Internet. At the training they met with experts from Konexedigiq and the #somtu initiative., who shared their experiences from their work.

As part of Science Week in November 2022, we held a workshop with our volunteers and students regarding cyberhate and burnout prevention while monitoring hate speech. Thank you to the researchers from the Social Science Institute of the CSPV SAS for a great workshop.

On March 24, 2023, the ROMAntics met in Košice, where they learned more about the history of Luník IX, which they also visited. Subsequently, the legal part of their programme was prepared for the volunteers, namely at the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic, as well as at the Law Faculty of UPJŠ.

In September 2023, ROMAntics also participated in the Night of Researchers in cooperation with UPJŠ Faculty of Law.

On October 6th and 7th, 2023, a meeting and training of the ROMAntics took place on the premises of the Liszt Pavilion in the University Library in Bratislava. At the training, they met experts from the Media Services Council, digiQ, Irena Biháriová and Tomáš Halász from TrollWall.

ROMAntics were invited to the Current Status of Roma Studies IV conference, which took place on December 7 and 8, 2023, in Prešov. At this conference, our volunteers also gave an interview for the RTVS show– Rómske slovo (tranls. Roma word)

Similarly, our lawyer and volunteer coordinator was interviewed by RTVS for the Český magazín RTVS.

💙❤️💚 On 8 and 9 April 2024, on the occasion of International Roma Day, we took part in a two-day event in Bratislava, the Countering Online Anti-Roma Hate Speech and Safeguarding Democratic Values ​​conference, organized by European Roma Rights Centre under the auspices of President Zuzana Čaputová.

The project is supported by the European Commission under the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV-2021-EQUAL).