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Mobilizing Activist Media against Hate Speech and Incitement
to Violence in South Sudan

#DefyHateNow is a mobilization and urgent awareness raising initiative to support the actions of emergent, primarily youth based civil society organisations in South Sudan. The project aims to better network the message of the many small and dispersed groups battling the hate-rhetoric and incitement to violence exacerbating the political clashes that broke out in the country’s capital Juba, in December 2013. r0g_agency’s Stephen Kovats discusses #DefyHateNow at re:publica14, introducing the United Youth Association (UYA), the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO) and the Kapital Virtual Academy (KVA) … three independent and innovative South Sudanese grass-roots organizations working for peace, tolerance and unity.

UYA has grown out of the urgency to act in the current crisis, focussing on raising the awareness of youth to avoid destructive tribalist involvement in the country’s current crisis. The organisation has been active in promoting progressive and pro-democratic youth activities through workshops, meetings, public rallies and campaigning (both ‘on-the-ground and online).

CEPO, one of South Sudan’s leading human rights and social action organizations is now looking at digital innovation to monitor violence in South Sudan. CEPO’s network of projects focus on violence against civilians, intending to create a mapping structure that ‘reads between the lines’, filling in the info missing from ‘official’ published data.

KVA, led by University of Juba medical students Lagu Stephen Samuel and Dratu Richard, is South Sudan’s first (and perhaps only) independent and locally initiated media training programme. A key activity of the Kapital Movie collective, an independent group of young designers, film makers, IT professionals and artists hailing from across South Sudan, the KVA looks at media production training as a means to create a future beyond conflict. Focussing on addressing the acute post-independence social, political, educational and environmental challenges the country faces, KVA links media training with the urgent need to pro-actively strengthen and amplify the voice of youth seeking to eradicate the senseless violence that has now gripped the country from within.

Faced with the very real threat of strategically aimed digital campaigns of hate and incitement to violence #DefyHateNowlooks to unify the resources and experience of these organizations in engaging citizens from all sectors of society, policy makers, leaders, the media and most importantly the country’s other pro-democracy and peace support groups.

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