A message from Andrew Lane, the director of Quaker Council for European Affairs
QCEA will be launching a new website (chooserespect.eu) on anti-migrant political discourse in European Parliament elections. (Recall that the elections are coming up in May 2019.)
We are not for Names, nor Men, nor Titles of Government, nor are we for this Party, nor against the other, because of its Name and Pretence; but we are for Justice and Mercy, and Truth and Peace, and true Freedom, that these may be exalted in our Nation.
~ Edward Burrough, 1634-1663
Many are worried that divisive and xenophobic discourse – often based on misinformation – might affect voters’ ability to make informed, humane political choices in the upcoming European elections. This would have a real impact on European security, climate, development and migration policy in the years to come.
QCEA’s research – as well as our meetings with social media companies – suggest that enabling web users to respond to online hate speech themselves is more effective than centralised moderation, and is more likely to change minds in the long-term. With that in mind, QCEA is pleased to launch #ChooseRespect in advance of the 2019 European elections. We’ve created an online toolkit – which is intended to help social media users across Europe respond to and engage with anti-migrant hate speech in a constructive manner.
The #ChooseRespect site is split into three sections – a migrant and refugee myth-buster, a “positive narrative toolkit” and a dedicated Twitter account which tracks examples of hate speech by European Parliament candidates and their staff in real-time. We hope this will become a ‘rallying point’ for anti-hate speech efforts among Twitter users.
What can you do?
The website is currently in English, French and German. In the next few days we will add Danish, Czech, Croatian, Greek, Polish and Dutch. If your country’s language is not in this list and you would be willing to help with the translation, please contact me. Given 2019 will be an important year for Spain, we would be especially keen to for offers from Spanish-speaking Friends.
If you do not live in an EU country, don’t worry, we plan to maintain this site after the EU elections. Many of the same anti-migrant myths circulate in all our countries.
QCEA major social media push will take place in a few weeks time closer once the election campaigning is fully underway, and we’ll be adding some translations to the website before then, but we’d be grateful if you could give us a Twitter mention during this week to help us get started.
Twitter handle: @ChooseRespectEU