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News & Events
8Chan: What To Do About the Online Belly of the Far Right Beast PDF Print

30 April 2019

Country: US, Global

by: Anna Lekas Miller

Screen_Shot_2019-04-30_at_5.39.33_PMLast Saturday, an armed gunman stormed the Chabad Synagogue in Poway, California, killing 60-year-old Lori Kaye who jumped in front of the Rabbi as the gunman aimed for him, shouting anti-Semitic slurs.

It is a scene that is becoming disturbingly familiar for houses of worship across the world. Six months ago, it was the Tree of Life synagogue in Pennsylvania. A little bit more than one month ago, it was two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand. Just one week ago, it was multiple churches across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

In the media, these events are starting to take on a routine. As politicians and pundits grapple with the fact that hateful rhetoric has real-life consequences, the calls to regulate—or even shut down—online platforms become louder. While few are naive enough to believe that this will stop hate crimes all together, many hope that one less hateful message or platform might make a difference, and perhaps save lives.



"The Media Magnifies Fears About Minority Communities": Sri Lanka Reels One Week After Attacks PDF Print

29 April 2019

Country: Sri Lanka

Screen_Shot_2019-04-29_at_10.49.39_AMOver the past week, Sri Lanka has struggled to control the repercussions of the six coordinated attacks that shook the country last Sunday.

“One of the things that has happened is that the whole country is living in a state of fear, said Bashaña Abeywardane, Coordinator of Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka.

One week ago, nine suicide bombers attacked six different churches and high-end hotels, killing almost 300 and injuring hundreds more on Easter Sunday. As a manhunt to find those responsible ensues, many are afraid of a resurge in  ethnic and religious-based violence, thought to have been left behind when the 25-year-long civil war ended ten years ago.


Ctrl Alt-Right: How White Supremacists Use Coded Messages to Communicate Online PDF Print

15 April 2019

Country: Global

by: Grant Williams

CntlAltFarRightIt is no secret that terrorists have used online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter as a means to recruit and radicalise people online. As soon as it became clear that groups like the Islamic State were actively using these platforms to recruit followers and spread propaganda, social media companies started to employ artificial intelligence (AI) technology to flag, and remove hateful content before it could spread further. As of March of this year, this software was removing more than one million accounts per day from Facebook alone.

However, in the wake of the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand, it has become clear that AI tools are not picking up on far right, extremist messages in the same way. Some blame social media companies for employing a double standard in evaluating violent content, but the reality is more complex. White supremacists frequently communicate through coded language, ‘in jokes’ and sarcasm, circumventing the AI tools meant to spot only explicitly violent content, allowing an undercurrent of extreme hate to flourish online.

Exploring Diversity and the Media at the International Journalism Festival 2019 PDF Print

3 – 7 April 2019

Country: Italy

IJFThis year’s International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy hosted 650 speakers taking part in 280 sessions on topics ranging from creating deep fake videos to freedom of expression and the rise of populism.

“Diversity” was a consistent theme across panels; here is a round-up of some of the most interesting conversations:

On a panel talking about the lack of female expert sources used in the news, media development director at WAN-IFRA Melanie Walker commented: “People want to see themselves reflected in the news that they read, in the content produced and the people they are seeing on screen, and this extends to expert sources.” Ros Atkins, from the BBC, and Jenny Holm, from Internews, discussed what their respective newsrooms were doing in order to tackle this issue, with the emphasis being on colleague engagement and participation.

MDI Contributes to United Nations Panel on Cybersexism and the Media PDF Print

21 March 2019

Country: United States, Global

CSW63In honor of International Women’s Month, Media Diversity Institute joined a Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) panel titled, Does the online space allow women in the media to challenge stereotyping and misrepresentation?

The event was held as part of the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.

“The digital world is a space that is accessible to everyone, provided that technical obstacles are surpassed,” said Dr. Snjezana Milivojevic of the University of Belgrade's Media Studies department, who represented Media Diversity Institute on the panel.

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