Wednesday 21 February 2018

Growth of cyber racism 'ignored at our peril'

In the past 12 months, online hate speech has accounted for 11 of 100 racism cases reported to the council
In the past 12 months, online hate speech has accounted for 11 of 100 racism cases reported to the council

Fiona Ellis

ONLINE hate speech is on the rise and now amounts to more than 10pc of all racism cases reported to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

In the past 12 months, online hate speech has accounted for 11 of 100 racism cases reported to the council.

Incidents reported include abuse through posts on social media and disturbing pictures and posts on right-wing websites.

The council has compiled a dossier of offensive and disturbing posts directed at non-Irish nationals. The majority of the complaints are against one website in particular which has a forum where users post offensive, racist content.

Denise Charlton, chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said cyber racism had a significant impact on online users.

"Individuals, even though they were not always targeted directly, reported that they felt upset, distressed and horrified by the language used on the internet," she said.

The figures on online hate were released by the council to coincide with the European Day for the Victims of Hate today.

The council is joining campaigners across Europe to mark the second anniversary of the massacre of 77 people in attacks in Oslo and Utoya Island, perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik, by calling for firm action against hate speech.

"The use of websites, social media and blogs to spread hate is a challenge which Ireland and Europe ignores at their peril," said Ms Charlton.

"The events in Norway two years ago today sent shockwaves across the continent, yet still the internet is being abused by those whose only message is of hate."

Irish Independent

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