DOUALA, Cameroon, October 25, 2021 / APO Group / –
From October 26 to 29, 2021, Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon, will host a regional forum to raise awareness and build the capacity of media professionals to prevent and combat hate speech in Central Africa. The event is organized by the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), in collaboration with the Cameroonian government, the United Nations Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa (UNCHRD -AC), the Joint United Nations Office for Human Rights in the DRC (UNJHRO), the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the UNESCO Office for Central Africa.
The forum mainly targets journalists from professional organizations and will be an opportunity to review the various hate words generally used in the media by participants from Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad.
Beyond this panorama, the Douala Forum will focus on the different situations in terms of the dissemination of hate messages, their meaning, as well as on the tools to prevent and combat them. Presentations will be made by the various speakers to edify and draw the participants’ attention to the impact of hate speech, which is also seen as an attack on tolerance, social cohesion, national unity and diversity. Group work will strengthen reflections on specific aspects and facilitate discussions on the development of a regional strategy to prevent and combat hate speech by the media in Central Africa. Participants will be guided, among other things, by the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action to Combat Hate Speech. Journalists in the sub-region would also consider adopting an ad hoc self-regulatory instrument aimed at committing them to privileging freedom of expression in the service of peace, in particular through media productions emphasizing constructive criticism. .
The United Nations and its partners stand ready to accompany the media in this perspective and to support ECCAS in achieving its objectives concerning the development of a regional strategy against hate speech in Central Africa which is one of the its key priorities for 2022 Following this workshop in Douala, a second Forum (communication regulatory bodies) is planned in Ndjamena (Chad) and a third in Kinshasa (DRC) bringing together media professionals, regulatory bodies and other key players to refine and adopt the regional strategy.
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