On June 18, the United Nations (UN) recognised the International Day for Countering Hate Speech for the first time. Among global initiatives to mark the observance, the UN’s network of students, academics, scientists, researchers, think tanks, institutions of higher education, and educational partners, the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) invited Mona Campus student, Isheba Cornwall to share her experience on combating hate speech through media.
Isheba, who wears many hats as a social media strategist, radio host, producer, and undergraduate student of the Integrated Marketing Communication programme in the Caribbean School of Media and Communication at Mona penned an essay entitled, Combating Hate Speech Through Media: A Young Caribbean Woman’s Perspective. Her invitation to submit the piece follows the UNAI welcoming The UWI as an official member in April. The contribution is featured prominently on the UN academic Impact website.
The proclamation of an International Day of Countering Hate Speech stems from the UN’s recognition that hate speech is on the rise. Hate speech incites violence, undermines social cohesion and tolerance, and causes psychological, emotional, and physical harm to those affected. The UN calls on Member States, the private sector, the media and internet corporations, faith leaders, educators, actors of civil society, those affected by hate speech, youth, or simply as an individual, to exercise their moral duty to speak out firmly against instances of hate speech and play a crucial role in countering the scourge.
In Isheba’s essay, she identifies that “From a Caribbean perspective, hatred spreads because of negative stereotypes emerging from our history, for example, through colonization”. Her message to young people is “While there is no singular cure for hate speech, my wish is for young people to stand up and fight against it.”