Countering hate speech in Yemen : Dakkah initiative

Dakkh was among the selected winners for the second “My Solution” competition, launched in April 2021 by UNESCO GCC and Yemen office and RNW Media, which invited young Yemenis to send their “solutions” to achieve peace in their country. The 7 winning proposals were supported to realize their projects.
Dakkh, an initiative launched under the umbrella of the Yemen Hub for Media Support, was founded in January 2021 with the aim to counter hate speech discourses in the media and society. Through its different activities, the initiative works on finding alternative discourses that restore the unity in the community.
As part of the “My Solution” project, Dakkh first launched an online survey aiming to study the spread of hate speech in the society and ways to confront it. The survey which included multiple choice and open-ended questions measures the level of understanding of the participants on hate speech and its impacts, and captures qualitatively their opinions on ways to address this issue. The survey plans to collect around 500 responses from all Yemeni governorates. Subsequently to the data collection, the information will be studied and the in-depth analysis will be publicly shared in the form of a report.
Based on the survey findings, Dakkh hopes to make recommendations on the best ways to address hate speech in the Yemeni society.
We hope to capture the understanding and opinions of Yemenis on hate speech and be able to find the best ways to counter it. While the data is still being collected, we are noticing that generally people repulse hate speech, as individuals are sharing their experiences and studies on this topic.
Mohammed ALHASANI, Journalist and Social media manager at Dakkh

Following the data analysis, the initiative will organize two workshop sessions. The first event will invite 10 peace journalists to discuss the results and come up with a plan of action for countering hate speech in the society. The second one will bring together 15 civil society activists and journalists to discuss the ways to fight hate speech in the media and strengthen their partnership. Alhasani explains “We hope that the outcomes of these two sessions will feed into the recommendations for fighting hate speech.”

In parallel, the initiative launched an online campaign on its social media pages to feature the findings of the survey and workshops, and also to bring awareness on the importance of stopping hate speech. This is done by also sharing stories on the negative impact of hate speech, along with visuals engaging with the audience.

Mohammed Alhasani added that the participation in “My Solution” helps the initiative in different ways, “Through this project, we continue raising the voices of the participants and understanding their perspectives, while also being able to reach to a greater number of Yemenis. We are also able to benefit as an initiative from the exchange of knowledge we receive at different stages of the project.” He also added “In the initial stages of prepping for the project, our team brainstormed on the needs of our community, and we came up with a detailed plan to address the challenges. This exercise helped us in focusing our work to serve our society better.”