Media experts call for tougher online hate speech laws – News
Media Professionals at Media Against Hate Conference Highlight Need for Social Media Influencers to Produce Useful and Educational Content
Media experts urged Arab countries to introduce tougher laws regulating social media users to prevent the damage caused by fake news and hate speech as the region fights religious discrimination.
Speaking in a panel discussion on “Social Media and Hate Speech” at the “Media Against Hate” conference in Amman, Jordan, Samir Al Hiyari, a media professional from the United Arab Emirates, said that unlike the Western world where people can use social media responsibility, many young people in the Arab region do not care what they share on social media and thus find themselves spreading messages of hatred and discrimination.
“The definition of hate speech has not been clearly mentioned and that is why some people may continue to post negative comments that incite discrimination without necessarily knowing that they are spreading hate,” he said. .
“The introduction of stricter online regulations should be the way forward for many Arab countries to control people who misuse social media to advance their personal interests which, in turn, affect others. “
Al Hiyari also highlighted the need for social media influencers to produce useful and educational content that can benefit society.
“Influencers need to produce content that has a positive impact on their followers, not posts that mislead people,” he said.
Jordanian media expert Abdullah Talafahah on whether social media users can censor themselves is not easy for people to control themselves over what they post on social media.
“Therefore, it is good that nations come up with a clear definition of what hate speech is and enact strict rules and regulations to control the use of social media,” said Talafahah.
“There should be heavy fines for people who violate social media rules, like the UAE has done. The UAE Cybercrime Law imposes a jail term and a fine of up to Dh 500,000 for anyone who posts insulting comments online or sends slanderous and defamatory messages to others via the internet .
Imaan Aghuthan, a Moroccan media expert, said hate speech has its own audience and a lot of effort should be made to educate young people about the negative effects of hatred and discrimination.
“Social media influencers have both positive and negative content. It’s a good thing to identify those who share important and educational things. Those who negatively influence others should be penalized, ”she said.
“There is a need to support technically and financially credible influencers so that they can provide people with good content.”
Media experts pointed out that in some countries in the region, new freedoms were gained as a result of the revolutions or the Arab Spring and that young people were using freedom of speech and expression to spread false news and rumors. or incentivize information so that they can become popular.