Haramaya University College of Law in Collaboration with USAID/OTI conducted a training for Media professionals, media influencers, communication officers and justice sector officials under the theme of “Enhancing Legal Awareness to Counter Hate Speech, Disinformation and Reduce Violence” from June 18-19, 2021 at Chiro Town.
According to Ato Dawit Gudeta, Coordinator of the training and a Lecturer at Haramaya University, College of Law, the main objectives of the training are briefing the stakeholders about the generalities of rights to freedom of expression and the legal limitations provided by laws; introducing the stakeholders with the concepts and legal implications of hate speech, disinformation and misinformation; explaining the differences between hate speech, defamation, disinformation and misinformation; explaining the criminal and civil liabilities pertaining to hate speech, defamation, disinformation and misinformation; and calling the general public to control the dissemination of hate speech, defamation, disinformation and misinformation in order to strengthen national unity.
On the two days training, the stakeholders were able to understand concepts such as hate speech is speech that deliberately promotes hatred, discrimination or attack against person or discernable group of identity based on ethnicity, religion, race, gender or disability, disinformation is false information disseminated by person who knew or should have reasonably known the falsity of the information and is likely to cause a public disturbance, riot, violence or conflict.
It was also highlighted on the training that misinformation is false information disseminated without knowing the falsity of the information thinking the information is true. It was indicated that defamation is an offence committed against person’s reputation, goodwill, honor and identity.
Among the trainees, Ato Abdureman Usman, from West Hararghe Higher Court, said the training is very essential and important for his profession to solve the issues of hate speech, the generalities of rights to freedom of expression and the legal limitations provided by laws; introducing the stakeholders with the concepts and legal implications of hate speech, disinformation and misinformation.
Ato Abdureman thanked HU in delivering timely training and makes them gain knowledge on the necessity of peaceful coexistence and strengthening national unity by countering hate speech, disinformation and defamation.
Head of Public Relation of West Hararghe Zone, Ato Teha Ahmed, said that avoiding hate speech means reducing violence and making peaceful society.
“We were happy to get trained on the theme as the objectives of the training meet the the solution the time demands,” he added.
Ato Dawit said the same training was given at Dire Dawa, Harar and East Harerghe zone for similar stakeholders.