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Beyond definitions. A call for action against hate speech in Albania. A comprehensive study November 2021

Bogdani, M. P., Faloppa, F. and Karaj, X., (2021) Beyond definitions. A call for action against hate speech in Albania. A comprehensive study November 2021. Report. The Council of Europe, Tirana. pp131.

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Abstract/Summary

The aim of this study is to provide relevant stakeholders with an updated and comprehensive approach to hate speech as well as some representative and reliable data on the perception of hate speech in Albania. Moreover, it provides some recommendations for relevant stakeholders on how to approach the problem of hate speech. Chapter 1 provides a conceptual framework to hate speech. Although being a relatively new topic in Albania, hate speech has already attracted a lot of attention from the media as well as in the public debate. However, there is still a lack of consistency, and awareness, on the definition of the topic, its amplitude, and its implications for all the actors involved, beginning with the people that are affected by it and are expected to combat it. Without a clear frame of reference, a comprehensive approach to hate speech may look unrealistic, and actions to tackle hate speech phenomena may result in short-sighted and fragmented strategies. Chapter 1 aims therefore at presenting some key terminological and conceptual aspects when dealing with hate speech, to put this study in a wider context and provide the readership with an updated overview of current issues and challenges. In the light of this approach, Chapter 2 provides data on hate speech at the national level in Albania, in particular about people’s perceptions, experiences, and trust in the institutions that should deal with hate speech in the country. This data has been collected through a survey - based on a questionnaire purposely designed for this study - which has involved a sample of 1511 participants randomly selected, plus a boost sample of 301 participants. It shows growing concerns, particularly among vulnerable groups, about the spread of hate speech in Albania (ca. 58% of the respondents think that hate speech is a national issue, even more during and after the pandemic) and the role of the media in spreading it. As far as triggers of hate speech are concerned, poverty (54 %), social status, political opinion, and physical appearance (44 %) are perceived as the main grounds of discrimination. However, this perception changes when considering vulnerable groups - by which ethnicity (50%) and Race (44%) are believed to be the two top triggers - and more specific responses by LGBTI people, for which homo-bi-lesbo-transphobia is the most common motivation triggering hate speech (68 %). According to the respondents, hate speech propagates not only in Social media, but also in schools, universities, and workplaces, and about 46% of the respondents from vulnerable groups have personally experienced hate speech in their lives. Among the effects of hate speech - just to mention another section of the survey - anxiety, depression, and emotional pain are perceived as the main feelings a person who is a target of hate speech may experience. However, awareness about what to do to contrast hate speech and what the available resources - including legal frameworks - are to protect ‘victims’ of hate speech, seems to be relatively low, also among vulnerable groups. For the aforementioned reason, Chapter 3 provides a legal analysis of issues concerning hate speech. First, the study focuses on the international standards addressing hate speech - UN legal instruments are introduced and summarised and some additional relevant national laws against hate speech are examined. Then, the European Union legal framework in relation to hate speech is granted a special emphasis, as it includes some major documents signed by the EU Commission and the Council. An important part of the international legal standards to be taken into consideration concerning this subject is a thorough analysis of the standards laid down by the Council of Europe, especially through the European Convention on Human Rights and the decisions of the European Court of Justice. In the following section, this chapter focuses on the Albanian national approach to address issues concerning hate speech. Following the legal framework's hierarchy in Albania, this section first discusses relevant Constitutional principles and then other national laws dealing exclusively or in part with hate speech. An important element of this analysis is the assessment of the national courts' decisions concerning the use of hate speech in civil and proceedings. 1 By Federico Faloppa Page 6 BEYOND DEFINITIONS A CALL FOR ACTION AGAINST HATE SPEECH Finally, the discussion focuses on the decisions of the Albanian Commissioner for the Protection against Discrimination and their impact to combat hate speech. A fourth part of the study, recommendations are provided. They aim to conclude the study and strengthen the effectiveness of combatting hate speech in Albania

Item Type:Report (Report)
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Modern Languages and European Studies > Italian
ID Code:102273
Publisher:The Council of Europe

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