IDFP Interfaith Dialogue in Combating Hate speech
Hate speech poses a major challenge for Nigeria, fuelling ethnic conflicts, giving voice to violent extremists, igniting electoral violence, and shaping the conflict around resource control. In an already polarised country, hate speech threatens peacebuilding and reconciliation processes, widening the internal divide among Nigerians, cementing distrust and weakening attempts to implement crisis solutions.
Hate speech is widespread throughout the country, popping up on media and information platforms. A lack of training among journalists has divided media outlets between northern and southern interests, pushing regional political agendas and further exacerbating conflict. Furthermore, social media platforms have afforded extremist groups the opportunity to spread hate without restraint in unprecedented proportions, as individuals threaten violence and promote discrimination.
Countering Hate Speech Through Interfaith Dialogue
KAICIID works with both local and national partners to implement initiatives throughout the country which target hate speech prevention, as well as media sensitisation – for example, through training women and young people on hate speech awareness and peace advocacy.
The IDFP also hosts a nationally aired television and radio programme which invites Christian and Muslim leaders to discuss weekly topics such as “Hate Speech and Politics,” “Hate Speech and Gender” and “Hate Speech and Disabilities”
Promoting Conflict Sensitive Journalism
With KAICIID’s technical and financial support, the Strength in Diversity Development Centre has hosted training in conflict sensitive journalism, inviting participants to critically assess Nigeria’s media landscape and the role of mass media in promoting non-violent, credible elections. Repre-
sentatives from Nigeria’s major media outlets identified that a percieved lack of media independence and the pressure of conflicting political interests pose the biggest challenges to credible journalism. During the training, media representatives proposed to strictly enforce a media code of ethics and further build the capacity of editors and journalists to report in a more professional, responsible way.
Bringing Christians and Muslims Together to Stop Hate
The Centre also encourages initiatives which bring together Christian and Muslim religious and community actors to combat intolerance and hate speech. In 2018, KAICIID supported the Muslim League for Accountability (MULAC) through the “My Neighbor” project, which aimed to sensitise participants on hate speech in Kaduna State. MULAC also hosted roundtable discussions with Christian and Muslim students from fifteen educational institutions, forming the first student network in Kaduna State for the prevention of hate speech.
Source: KAICIID IN ACTION