Prosecuting Digital Antigypsyism: A Policy Guide for the Czech Republic

24 January 2024

This is a practical set of policy recommendations aimed at public representatives working in the Ministry of Interior, law enforcement agencies, and public prosecutors to better address online hate speech against Roma. This policy guide is the product of the ERRC’s innovative, volunteer-led Challenging Digital Antigypsyism programme which tackles online hate through monitoring, reporting, and legal action. It advocates for a proactive approach to deal with online hate speech by state actors, including standardising police procedures when evaluating reported hate speech, plugging legislative gaps, more effective coordination across state agencies, the need for continuous education, the creation of preventive programs, involvement of the communities, and the engagement of other relevant stakeholders. The document highlights the discrepancy between the volume of hate speech discovered online by volunteer Romani activists engaged in the project, and the relatively small number of legal actions taken against perpetrators.

This policy guide is a companion publication to Challenging Digital Antigypsyism in the Czech Republic and was prepared jointly with the and the Forum for Human Rights. The project in the Czech Republic was supported by the EVZ Foundation.

“Prosecuting Digital Antigypsyism: A Policy Guide for 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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