In European societies, increasingly reshaped by migration, the fight against racism and xenophobia is a key challenge for democracy and civil life. Despite anti-discrimination legislation in force in EU Member States, there is still a fundamental problem in identifying different forms of racism and xenophobia. These may consist of physical attacks against people or of verbal abuse through hate speech.
A hate crime is never an isolated act; it is usually triggered and fostered by hate speech, consisting of discourses that express disdain, hatred, prejudice, etc. Such discourses are performed not only in direct face-to-face communication, but they also take place online, in political discussions, in the media, as well as in other institutional contexts. Hate crimes may also follow from hate-oriented communication practices based on other communication levels, such as voice (paraverbal message), body language (non-verbal message), images (visual message). Finally, racist discourse often does not simply consist in explicit hatred, prejudice and disdain, but it may also take the form of an apparently benevolent recognition of the differences that however presupposes a stereotypization of an individual’s cultural and social identity. Furthermore, it has become increasingly difficult for law enforcement, politicians and the public to identify whether a physical offence is triggered by xenophobia, because it has to be interpreted within the context in which it has taken place.
The RADAR project (JUST/2013/FRAC/AG/6271), implemented by the University of Perugia and 8 partners (ANCE, Computer Technology Institute and Press « Diophantus », Heriot-Watt University, Adam Michiewicz University, Key & Key Communications, Learnmera Oy, Stichting Vrouw en Welzijn, Placówka Kształcenia Ustawicznego) from 6 European countries (Finland, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and the UK) aims at providing law enforcement officials and legal professionals with the necessary tools, mainly through open training activities, to facilitate the identification of ‘racial’-motivated hate communication.
The main objectives of the project, now in its second year, are:
- comparing existing legislation in the different partner countries as well as relevant academic and non-academic studies
- identifying specific communication practices through words, voice, body language and visual elements in mass media and social network debates about hate speech and hate communication
- understanding the mechanism of hate-oriented communication practices in their communicative techniques, procedures and strategies
- working out a face-to-face and online training concept to provide concrete tools for recognising such communication practices and contributing to prevent hate crimes
- elaborating good practices, recommendations and tangible tools for the legal and law enforcement sectors to facilitate anti-discrimination and anti-racist actions and regulations.
For more info please visit the project website at: http://win.radar.communicationproject.eu/web