Participants at #defyhatenow now training, where they received Field Guide packages and training
#defyhatenow has trained community leaders, content creators, bloggers, journalists, civil society organisation officials, and equipped them with the anti-hate speech guide – a conflict mitigation tool to be used to fight hate speech as well as sensitise, advocate, and build capacities of various communities and people towards a hate-free Cameroon.
The field guide distributed to the various stakeholders is version 2.0, an improved version of the initial one that was used by the organisation when it launched its fight against hate speech in Cameroon.
Speaking to the Press, Kinang Derick Fai, Project Lead for the Field Guide Implementation project, said, after sometime, #defyhatenow discovered some necessary modifications that needed to be done on the initial guide.
He said, after the usage of the first version, “we discovered there were things we needed to modify. For example, the first version had eight chapters and we discovered that some chapters were interrelated, and so we had to reduce it to six chapters. One of the specificities of this version is that we have an entire chapter that talks about common hate speech expressions that we have in Cameroon like Anglofool, Francofool, Bamilikong, and stuff like that. We had to go into the genealogy of the words and why they constitute hate speech.”
Kinang said #defyhatenow is giving out its Field Guide package to the various stakeholders so that, in turn, they will take it back to the various communities and segments of the society they serve, and “inculcate the guide in the different activities they run on a daily basis, to ensure that we build a better and hate-free Cameroon”.
He furthered that, in the six-chapter guide, there is a chapter on trauma and healing, social media and conflict, identity and conflict, and another on how arts and technology can be used to build peace and others.
#Defyhatenow’s project is hinged on the fact that Cameroon is trapped in a range of conflicts and tensions threatening peace in many regions of the country. The organisation notes that Cameroon has witnessed an upsurge in hate speech, incitement to violence and mis/disinformation, which is now ravaging the foundation fabrics on which the peace of the country was constructed and maintained.
“Social media, communication technology and identity has increasingly been used as tools to fan the flames of tensions and conflicts in Cameroon. This is evident with the increase in attacks in the form of hate speech, incitement to violence and mis/disinformation suffered by many, on different social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on); attacks which have proven to be manifested offline in diverse forms ranging from defamation, destruction of properties and, at times, loss of lives, thus, justifying the growing insecurity that has characterised most communities in Cameroon.
“With this insecurity becoming normalcy in some regions of the country, the need for initiatives and, most especially, conflict mitigation tools to promote peace and social cohesion is proving to be more than ever primordial and urgent and this urgent need goes hand in gloves with the #defyhatenow initiative and the rationale behind the production of the #defyhatenow Social Media Hate Speech Mitigation Field Guide (Field Guide), to serve as a conflict mitigation tool. It is also a pertinent contributory factor to the Field Guide sessions to be organised both online and offline with the aim to promote peacebuilding and ensure peace and social cohesion in Cameroon,” #defyhatenow notes.
One of the beneficiaries of the Field Guide, Wirnkar Melony of Community Centre for Integrated Development, said the Guide will help direct him as he holds sessions with young people in a way that wards off hate speech and other vices that create problems amongst people.
He said, with the help of #defyhatenow, he now better understands the context under which he operates and it will help him to better make use of the guide, and fight hate speech.
The #defyhatenow initiative aims to raise awareness of and develop means and tools for countering social media-based hate speech, conflict rhetoric and directed online incitement to violence and to amplify ‘positive influencers’ occupying Cameroon’s social media landscape with voices of peacebuilding and counter-messaging rather than leaving that space open to agents of conflict.
The #defyhatenow Field Guide Cameroon offers tools and strategies to be used by community-based organisations & online campaigns for peacebuilding in Cameroon.