Challenging Digital Antigypsyism: Albania, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine
17 May 2023
This report is a summary and analysis of monitoring and reporting carried out by the ERRC’s ‘Roma Rights Defenders’ volunteer section in Albania, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine between November 2020 and August 2021. It contains data from reporting activities the volunteer researchers carried out using report functions embedded within major social media networks, as well as analysis by ERRC staff and volunteer coordinators on the online hate speech profile of each country. It is likely the first data-driven picture of online hate speech specifically targeted against Roma in Europe.
The report “Challenging Digital Antigypsyism: Albania, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine” can be downloaded here.
Challenging Digital Antigypsyism Project:
This project was borne from a need by young Romani activists to do something proactive about the clear danger of escalation when online hate speech goes viral. ERRC activists and volunteers felt that the threat of escalation of online hate speech had often been overlooked or played down. As it is always difficult to predict what type of online hate will become hate crimes offline and how, it is important to always treat instances of online viral hate speech very seriously. In early 2020, the ERRC established the volunteer-led project Challenging Digital Antigypsyism, which aimed to challenge online hate speech against Roma through the creation of digital activist communities focused on reporting and countering hate speech on social media platforms. In this first phase, cohorts of Romani activists from Albania, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine were recruited as national volunteer coordinators for each country. They were trained by ERRC staff and guest experts to recognise hate speech targeting Roma and volunteer management, and then prepared for a process of monitoring selected online platforms. These National Volunteer Coordinators, with the ERRC’s supervision, recruited and selected national teams of volunteers (ERRC Roma Rights Defenders) and developed these groups into what are now semi-autonomous activist groups.
The Challenging Digital Antigypsyism project has since expanded and has now been implemented across 8 European countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, and Ukraine.