Strategies For Countering Cyber-Hate Discussed At International Meetings In Warsaw
New York, NY, October 11, 2006 … Two leading experts on hate on the Internet, in Warsaw for a series of international meetings dealing with the spread of cyber-hate, proposed new strategies for effectively countering hate speech on the Internet in an increasingly online global community.
"At the Anti-Defamation League, we believe that the best antidote to hate speech is counter-speech -- exposing hate speech for its deceitful and false content, setting the record straight, and promoting the values of tolerance and diversity," said Christopher Wolf, Chair of ADL's Internet Task Force, in an address to the 5th annual conference of the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH), which he also chairs.
"Laws addressed at Internet hate are perhaps the least effective way to deal with the problem, and create a sense of false security promoting inaction and underuse of the other tools available to fight online hate," added Mr. Wolf, an attorney specializing in use of the Internet. He explained that broad laws restricting Internet providers from blocking content have "dangerous unintended consequences" of preventing voluntary cooperation of providers in removing online hate speech.
In a session on how extremist groups use the Internet, Brian Marcus, ADL Director of Internet Monitoring, demonstrated how extremists spread their hateful worldview by targeting their Web sites toward children and teens.
Mr. Wolf said one successful model is for watchdog groups to monitor sites for offensive content and notify responsible Internet providers. "The voluntary cooperation of ISPs in taking down or blocking hate-filled sites is an important tool all around the world, including in the United States," he said. "Voluntary editing by an ISP does not implicate the First Amendment protection of speech, and so appealing to a provider can be very effective."
ADL also presented at a side event devoted to combating online hate during the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)'s annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.