Challenging Digital Antigypsyism in the Czech Republic

24 January 2024

This report explores the state of online hate speech in the Czech Republic through the ERRC’s innovative, volunteer-led Challenging Digital Antigypsyism programme which tackles online hate through monitoring, reporting, and legal action. This publication is the product of many hours of hard work and dedication by young activists who recorded and analysed 245 separate incidents of online racist language against Roma of varying degrees of severeness between the spring of 2022 and the summer of 2023. The report details how hate speech circulates online in the Czech Republic and crucially demonstrates how young Roma can take charge of their rights by actively monitoring and contributing to the legal process; building an evidence base for legal action against those who perpetrate hate speech.

This report is a companion publication to Prosecuting Digital Antigypsyism: A Policy Guide for the Czech Republic and was prepared jointly with the Forum for Human Rights and The project was in the Czech Republic supported by the EVZ Foundation.

The report “Challenging Digital Antigypsyism in the Czech Republic” can be downloaded here in English and Czech.


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 so far: Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, and Ukraine.


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