On 22 December, the Metamorphosis Foundation, within the project “Rapid Response to Vaccine Disinformation”, held a webinar for its fellow journalists, partners and collaborators in the media and civil society sectors. The topic of the webinar was dedicated to hatе-speech in public discourse, media and social networks. The trainers of the webinar were Dejan Georgievski from the Center for Media Development (CRM) and Petrit Saracini from Civil Media.

Definitions of hate speech were discussed at the event – the legal basis and legislation in the country regarding this issue, as well as the international acts to which hate speech is subject. In addition to the legal framework, the norms prepared by the media community on the topic of hate speech and reporting in such cases were debated.

In the further course of the webinar, cases of hate speech that were used in the public by public figures, politicians and individuals were presented and how they should be treated when reporting on events/cases when such speech was used. In addition, cases were identified in which the Covid-19 pandemic was used for propaganda purposes by spreading misinformation, inflammatory speech, stigmatization, inciting intolerance and confrontation with dissidents, i.e. those who are for and against vaccination and measures for prevention.

During the debate, the journalists themselves shared their experiences in reporting on events and topics related to the pandemic, vaccination and the Covid-19 virus itself, the experiences of the Media Ethics Council in such cases, the conclusions reached by the Council in resolving complaints, etc. Particular attention was paid to the content posted on social networks and the attitude of the journalistic and media community to this phenomenon as well as to all media and ethical challenges related to the topic of hate speech in the public sphere.