by Lisa Zeller and Tatiana Tilly
Viktorija Bruzaite (22), coordinator of the No Hate Speech Movement in Lithuania. She believes that more information about human rights in the internet is crucial, but that the movement needs to be more creative and active in the real world.
She sits in the back of the room, but is not shy to raise her hand and give her opinion when she has the chance. Viktorija Bruzaite is the coordinator of the Lithuanian group of the “No Hate Speech” movement.
Today she is participating in the “Human Rights in the internet – No hate, please!” workshop about the movement. The panel is discussing how you can prevent hate speech, and Viktorija has something she wants to add, namely the importance of education. We meet her after the workshop, where she elaborates:
“Lithuania is becoming a more global society. We were a closed society for many years, but now I notice more and more people of different backgrounds. But there is no education in human rights in schools or universities”, she says.
Real life education
Therefore, she thinks young people lack the tools and information to deal with the situation in which their tolerance is challenged. She underlines that it needs to be done in real life and not only online.
“I think that first of all we should really fight for human rights education in schools, getting the information out there”, the coordinator says.
The “No Hate Speech” campaign is initiated by The Council of Europe and is implemented on EU-, national and local level. Most of the happenings and information are based on the internet.
However, Viktorija believes that the problems are created in real life and should also be solved in real life.
More creativity needed
In Lithuania, they have therefore added the “Love Panda” to the campaign. “The idea comes from the notion that the panda is `Black and White and Asian´, which makes you think that the figure cannot be discriminatory at all and on top of that, the animal is so sweet that everybody likes it”.
The panda is the hero of the campaign, who is asking people to share stories of joy with each other both online and offline. The campaign is also selling shirts with the panda and a “No hate” message on them, like the one Viktorija is wearing herself today.
“Right now you can buy these shirts. And it´s just something you wear, but it says `No hate´, which means that people support the message, even though they don´t necessarily realize it.”
She believes that it’s important that the EU-campaign starts investing more in events and education in real life, and that the people involved try to be m ore creative in order to engage more people. Another creative example has been implemented by the Portuguese part of the campaign: the “No hate Ninjas” create videos on Youtube to spread their message.