Roundtable: A comprehensive approach to combating hate speech in the Republic of Moldova
On 11 June 2021, the Council of Europe organized, in co-operation with the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Moldova, the Audiovisual Council and the Center for Continuing Electoral Training, an online roundtable to discuss the application of a comprehensive approach to combating hate speech in the Republic of Moldova, in particular during an election period. This event is a joint initiative of several CoE projects, one of which is co-funded by the European Union.
The event provided a common platform for discussions for public institutions, non-governmental organizations, electoral actors, including political parties, media actors, anti-discrimination actors and potential voters, who had the opportunity to analyze possible responses to hate speech, in particular regarding competitors and the role of mass media.
In the introductory part, the following remarks were made by:
- Giulia RE, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Chisinau: “In the Council of Europe Action Plan 20212024 for the Republic of Moldova, co-operation in the electoral field, advocacy for equality and anti-discrimination practices and the fight against hate speech are part of the Council of Europe’s priorities towards the Republic of Moldova. Today’s event is precisely designed to raise awareness of the fight against hate speech in the Republic of Moldova, a recurring phenomenon that unfortunately escalates during election periods, and to discuss together how best to face it in accordance with national and international standards in electoral and anti-discrimination fields â.
- Vladimir Sarban, Vice-President, Central Election Commission of the Republic of Moldova: âElections must be fair competitions, based on ethics and decency, without judging people behind their ideas and without admitting incitement to hate speech. The regularity of the electoral campaign begins with the behavior of each actor involved, and in this sense, a key step made by the Central Election Commission, was the proposal of a code of conduct to be signed by all electoral contestants and the media. concerned, ensure that hate speech and discrimination are prevented and combated accordingly as part of the current electoral campaign for the early parliamentary elections of 11 July 2021 â.
- Ala Ursu-Antoci, President, Audiovisual Council of the Republic of Moldova: âThe Audiovisual Council will ensure the strict control and sanction of cases of hate speech identified in the media environment, including during an election campaign. An important contribution to the strengthening of institutional capacities and to the development of the capacities of controllers to identify and deal with cases of hate speech has been made by the Council of Europe through the recent training on hate speech for employees of the Audiovisual Council, and also due to methodological guide “Combating hate speech in the media”, which will be used by the Audiovisual Council as a practical tool to monitor and combat more effectively cases of hate speech in the audiovisual environment â.
- Michael Farrell, Vice-President of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance: âECRI stands for comprehensive strategies to combat hate speech, with proactive monitoring mechanisms and appropriate condemnation of cases of hate speech. It is important that all relevant actors and institutions are actively involved in ensuring the prevention and punishment of hate speech, and also, it is of major importance that all political parties adopt codes of conduct aimed at combating hate speech. hate speech â.
As part of this event, the Council of Europe launched a systemic mapping report on hate speech in the Republic of Moldova, available here.
As an important outcome of the event to combat hate speech, electoral and media actors have been invited by the Central Election Commission to sign the aforementioned code of conduct, which explicitly provides for the obligation not to use hate speech.
The round table was organized on the joint initiative of Council of Europe projects “Strengthening access to justice for victims of discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech in the Eastern Partnership” (funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe under the Partnership for Good Governance II), “Improving electoral practices in the Republic of Moldova, phase II” (funded and implemented by the Council of Europe) and “Promote European standards in audiovisual regulation of the Republic of Moldova“ (funded and implemented by the Council of Europe).