On 27 October, a Task Force of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA), made up of parliamentarians from around the world, joined by Internet and civil rights experts, scholars and NGO representatives, will conduct a London hearing in the Houses of Parliament on the nature and scope of Internet hate.
The hearing will focus on types of hate speech appearing on the Internet, the various online media through which it appears and the regional aspects on online hate around the world. The effects of Internet hate on people, including its role in fostering hate crimes, also will be explored with testimony from experts and witnesses. The Task Force plans additional hearings on steps to counter online hate, leading to a report containing recommendations in late 2012.
The Task Force was formed a year ago at the Ottawa, Canada Conference of the ICCA, a group of parliamentarians from around the world who, in setting up the Task Force, expanded the ICCA mission of fighting Antisemitism to fighting all forms of online hate.
The ICCA Task Force is co-chaired by MK Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein, Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs , who is in charge of countering antisemitism, and Christopher Wolf, a partner in the international law firm of Hogan Lovells and founder and chair of the Internet Task Force of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
John Mann MP, co-founder of the ICCA and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism will be hosting the meeting.
Minister Edelstein, commenting on the work of the Task Force, said: “The issue of hate on the Internet needs greater attention given its scope and potential for harm. It is gratifying that so many high caliber individuals have come together to provide positive approaches to counter the effects of online hate. I am honored to be helping to lead the effort”
Christopher Wolf commented: “It is an honor for me to co-chair the Task Force with Minister Edelstein. He understands, as do I, the importance of free expression but we also understand the serious harm hate speech can cause. Our work on the Task Force is underpinned by the recognition that the Internet must remain free and open, but that does not mean that we cannot take steps to counter and alleviate the effects of online hate.”
John Mann MP said: “Hate on the internet is a global problem requiring a global solution. I hope bringing Parliamentarians and industry experts together to seek out and highlight best practice will be another step towards a more tolerant online society”
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1. The Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) brings together Parliamentarians from around the world to lead the fight against resurgent global antisemitism. Its principal purpose is to share knowledge, experience, best practice, and recommendations, encouraging their dissemination in an attempt to deal more effectively with contemporary antisemitism. The ICCA is run by a Steering Committee made up of Members of Parliaments from around the world:
Irwin Cotler MP (Canada), Minister Yuli Edelstein (Israel); John Mann MP (UK); Fiamma Nirenstein MP (Italy); Representative Chris Smith (USA); Gert Weisskirchen former MdB (Germany); Emanuelis Zingeris MP (Lithuania).
2. The ICCA Ottawa Protocol adopted in November 2010 called for the establishment of an International Task Force of Internet specialists comprised of parliamentarians and experts to create common indicators to identify and monitor anti-Semitism and other manifestations of hate online and to develop policy recommendations for Governments and international frameworks to address these problems.
3. The ADL is providing support for the efforts of the ICCA Task Force, including the participation of Steve Sheinberg, the ADL professional leading the agency’s work on Internet hate. Lawyers from Hogan Lovells in the US and the UK provided pro bono assistance in organizing the hearing and materials for the Task Force.