Today, the Internet usage apart from providing us with space in which we create, publish, distribute and use various content information, also enables us to self-express where we often find ourselves in situations where we become the victim or the abuser and breaking human rights by using hate speech, with its various forms and cyber violence.
The degree of hate speech presence and potential damage which can be caused by braking norms, democratic processes and human rights gives us reason to act in public especially among youth in elementary and secondary schools.
With that aim an online survey has been conducted to gain a better understanding of the momentary situation regarding the degree usage of hate speech thus to enable the perception of hate speech to be analyzed by education with a focus on youth and their participation in battle against hate speech.
Out of the total number of surveyed individuals who stated that they encounter hate speech on a daily basis only a small part i.e. 4% answered that they have not come across or they are not sure that have come across hate speech online which points us to the fact that recognition mechanisms and method of hate speech appearance are unknown, thus necessary to be learned which creates a field of operation.
Half of the surveyed have stated that as the biggest factor or causer for hate speech appearance is discrimination based on political orientation, on second place is discrimination based on ethnicity and on third place came sexual orientation. After these as hate speech starters followed: religious, physical and mental disability, gender and a small percentage the social status of the hated person.
As tools for communication, creation, information distribution and consummation the surveyed individuals nominated Facebook as a platform where they come across with hate speech, then YouTube, public web portals, forums and different Internet websites.
With the survey it has been established that the hate speech victim’s age is not specific i.e. we all could be hate speech victims, however, most subjected groups are young people between the age of 16 – 25 years old.
When noticing hate speech the majority who are not the target of hate speech do not do anything and just ignore it.
Only a small portion did actual react, inform their friends and join campaigns against hate speech. A very small number are those that actually seek advice, report the authorities or, inform the head of an organization. The bigger portion of surveyed have never participated in activities against hate speech, while the number of those being a hate speech victim is roughly the same with those who haven’t. There are those who aren’t sure whether they have been hate speech victims as well.
The above stated leads to contradiction when compared to the results received from the question what they would do if they would be hate speech victims, to which the majority of the surveyed answered that they have not been victims to hate speech, while a minority answered that they have reacted and have asked for help from a friend. The biggest number of surveyed have answered that they do not use hate speech online, compared to the small number of those who do have actually used it or are not aware whether they have used it or not.
With these results the NGO YMCA Bitola has reached the conclusion that there is a great need among youngsters between the age of 14-26 to get to know the boundaries legally set to distinguish between freedom of speech and hate speech, the crime caused by hate speech, the differences amongst these three and the method of coping and reporting them with the aim to prevent it and decrease the degree of hate speech usage.